Egypt hasn't acknowledged Ethiopian dam through principles: Official

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Mar 2015

Some experts have argued that the newly signed principles of declaration over Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam mean that Egypt will not have an opportunity to negotiate over water shares

File photo: A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014. Egypt fears the $4.7 billion dam, that the Horn of Africa nation is building on the Nile, will reduce a water supply vital for its 84 million people, who mostly live in the Nile valley and delta. Picture taken March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt has not recognised the legitimacy of Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam or its specifications when both countries signed a principles of declaration document along with Sudan over the $4.2 billion project, a high-ranking official in Egypt's irrigation ministry said.

The head of Nile Water Resources Division at the ministry, Ahmed Bahaa El-Din, stressed that the principles do not indicate- even implicitly- that Egypt has acknowledged the storage capacity, or any other specifications of the Renaissance Dam.

Fears abound that the under-construction dam will reduce Egypt's share of the Nile River, the country's main source for potable water. Some experts argue the recently signed document means that the Egyptian authority has no opportunity to negotiate the dam storage capacity, on which possible effects on downstream countries are contingent.

"It's still a point of dispute," El-Din told state news agency MENA, outlining that it will only be concluded through the results of technical studies to be conducted by international experts.

He also stressed the principles of declaration won't affect the treaties related to each of the basin countries water shares.  

The Ethiopian 6,000 megawatt dam, set to be Africa's largest, is expected to be fully completed by 2017. Ethiopia has reportedly finished constructing at least 40 percent of the dam.

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