Pope Tawadros II, the pope of the Coptic Orthodox church (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s Pope Tawadros II expressed faith Wednesday that any project undertaken by Ethiopia wouldn’t harm anyone, in a clear nod to Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam, a source of recent anxiety to Egypt.
In recent years, relations between the two countries became strained amid Egyptian concerns about the possible effects of the dam under construction on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.
The head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, in a Cairo meeting with an Ethiopian people’s delegation, added that any project by Ethiopia would benefit everyone, Reuters’ Aswat Masriya reported.
The delegation arrived in Cairo Tuesday, headed by speaker of the Ethiopian parliament Abdulla Gemeda, and is set to meet with a number Egyptian officials, intellectuals and religious figures.
Tawadros also stated that Egypt won’t hesitate in helping Ethiopia with any information regarding the construction of dams.
“We pray for the Ethiopian government and its efforts to break the cycle of poverty, and we encourage their efforts,” Tawadros added.
The Blue Nile is the largest tributary of the Nile, on which Egypt depends for the vast majority of its water. Cairo is concerned that Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam project, which the Ethiopian government says is now 40 percent complete, could have an adverse effect on Egypt's water supply. However, recent diplomatic efforts appear to reduced tensions.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia were expected to consider international firm offers to conduct studies on the Grand Renaissance Dam on 4 December, but this deadline was extended to mid-December on the request of several firms.