Egypt willing to negotiate over Ethiopia's dam: Foreign minister

Ahram Online, Sunday 18 May 2014

Egypt has previously remained adamant that Ethiopia's planned Grand Renaissance Dam will compromise its share of Nile water

Nabil Fahmy
Egypt's FM Nabil Fahmy during meeting with a European-American delegation(Photo: Courtesy of Fahmy's official Facebook page)

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has stressed that Egypt is still willing to negotiate with Ethiopia over its Nile dam project, Al-Ahram's daily Arabic newspaper reported.

Fahmy's comments were delivered during a meeting with a European-American delegation in Cairo on Saturday in which the focus was on Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam.

Currently under construction on the Sudanese border on the Blue Nile, a main Nile tributary, the dam 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.

Among those in attendance on Saturday was the Special Coordinator for Water Resources at the US Department of State Aaron Salzberg along with a special representative from the European Union (EU) Alexander Rondos.

Also in the delegation was the US Chargé d'Affaires in Egypt Marc Sievers and the ambassador of the European Union, James Moran.

Salzberg arrived in Cairo from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he held talks with Ethiopian officials over the Renaissance Dam issue.

He is expected to stay in Egypt for two days as part of a regional tour that will also take him to Sudan.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a meeting on Thursday with the Yemeni president in Sanaa that Ethiopia is "committed to genuine negotiations with Egypt" over its controversial Grand Renaissance Dam.

In late April, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn invited Egypt and Sudan for another round of tripartite talks, while in March the Ethiopian foreign minister said his country was adamant about holding talks with Egypt.

Fahmy also said on Saturday that previous negotiations were held in three stages but "unfortunately didn’t show an indication for positive development."

Last year, Ethiopia and five other Nile Basin countries – Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi – endorsed an accord, the Co-operative Framework Agreement, which replaces a 1929 treaty granting Egypt veto power over any project on the Nile in upstream countries.

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