Ethiopia's big Nile dam: A man walks over a bridge by the construction of Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 25 miles from Ethiopia's border with Sudan.(Photo:Reuters)
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a meeting Thursday with the Yemeni president in Sanaa that Ethiopia is “committed to genuine negotiations with Egypt” over its controversial Grand Renaissance Dam, a statement on Ethiopia’s foreign ministry website reads.
The Grand Renaissance Dam, currently under construction, is situated near the Sudanese border on the Blue Nile — a main Nile tributary. It is set to be the biggest hydroelectric dam in Africa, producing as much as 6,000 megawatts of energy.
Egypt has repeatedly expressed concern that the dam will affect its share of Nile water. Ethiopia insists this will not happen.
The Ethiopian minister’s statement contradicts a statement by Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy issued last week.
Fahmy told Al-Ahram daily newspaper that Egypt has repeatedly called for negotiations with Ethiopia over the dam, but did not receive a real response.
Ghebreyesus met with Yemeni President Abdu Rebu Mansour Hadi following the conclusion of the Fifth Joint Ministerial Commission meeting between the two countries.
During the meeting, Ghebreyesus also said that the dam would “contribute greatly to the transformation of the economies and societies of all Nile Basin countries including Egypt … for the realisation of shared benefits and a win-win approach.”
The Ethiopian foreign minister also met with the Ethiopian community representatives in Sanaa, where he thanked them for their support and contributions to the construction costs of the dam.
The dam has so far seen 26.3 percent of its construction costs collected in the form of government bonds purchased by Ethiopians.
Last year, Ethiopia and five other Nile Basin countries — Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi — endorsed an accord, the Cooperative Framework Agreement, which replaces a 1929 treaty granting Egypt veto power over any project on the Nile in upstream countries.
Sudan, Egypt's immediate downstream neighbour, has backed Ethiopia's plans to build the dam.