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ElBaradei apology to Ethiopia ‘disgusting’: Salafist Nour Party spokesman

Leading opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei under fire by Salafist Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar for not attending Nile dam meeting with president, issuing apology to Ethiopia

Ahram Online, Wednesday 5 Jun 2013
Nader Bakkar
Nader Bakkar, official spokesman of the Salafist Nour party (Photo: reuters)
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Salafist Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar expressed his discontent with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei after the latter issued an apology to Ethiopia for controversial comments made by Egyptian politicians during a meeting with the president.

The meeting with President Mohamed Morsi on Ethiopia's dam 'crisis' on Monday, which was aired live without notifying the attendees, witnessed suggestions of sabotaging the Ethiopian dam through bribing Ethiopian tribes or spreading false rumours of impending an Egyptian airstrike on the dam as solutions to end the issue.

ElBaradei, who had refused to take part in the meeting, described the statements made at the event as "irresponsible." In his statement he expressed his "sincere apologies to the people and governments of Ethiopia and Sudan" for what was said by meeting participants.

"ElBaradei’s apology to Ethiopia is a contradiction that adds to a list of past contradictions. We never heard your opinion; you have never participated in a dialogue that concerns the nation," said Bakkar on Tuesday, who further described Egypt's opposition bloc as "lame."

Bakkar said not announcing that the meeting would be aired live on television was a "great mistake," adding that "an apology to a country [Ethiopia] that initiated the hostility is disgusting."

He also expressed his appreciation to opposition members who participated in Monday's meeting. "They realise when is the time for competition, criticism and when it is time for national alignment."

Tension between Egypt and Ethiopia escalated last week after the latter commenced plans to divert the course of the Blue Nile as part of its project to build a new dam.

The Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government with fears expressed that the project, if completed, could negatively impact the volume of Nile water that will reach Egypt.

Ethiopian officials, for their part, have attempted to dispel fears regarding the dam's potential impact on downstream states, insisting that the project would ultimately benefit all riparian states.

According to Egypt's National Planning Institute, Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current 55 billion cubic metres quota, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people.

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