Egypt's foreign minister will seek 'win-win' on Ethiopia's grand dam: PM Qandil

Ahram Online, Thursday 13 Jun 2013

Egypt's foreign minister will discuss with Ethiopian government ways to make the Renaissance Dam project beneficial for both countries, says Premier Hisham Qandil

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has said that Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel will visit Ethiopia by the end of June in a bid to make the latter's Renaissance Dam project a "win-win" situation for both countries, according to Al-Ahram Arabic language news website.

The prime minister explained, in interview with CNN, that the tripartite commission on the Grand Ethiopian Dam project did not receive adequate studies and statistics from the Ethiopian side guaranteeing that the project will not negatively impact Egypt's share of Nile River water.

"Egypt is one of the most drought-threatened countries, in the case that the River Nile is [taken] from us, and I repeat this is not regional, but worldwide. We rely on the River Nile for 98 percent of our water demands," Qandil explained.

Egypt has been locked in a dispute with Ethiopia in recent weeks over the latter’s construction of a dam on the Blue Nile aimed at generating electricity. Many Egyptian politicians have cited concerns that the new dam could interfere with the volume of Nile water that reaches Egypt.

"The Ethiopian prime minister said in 2011 that Egypt's share will not diminish by one cup of water. We want to see studies and plans to confirm that," Qandil explained.

"We understand the rights of developmental projects for the Nile, and there is always a way out that both parties can win," he added.

Earlier Wednesday, Sherif Mohamady, representative of Egypt's irrigation minister, said that scientific studies have proven that there may be problems in the future for Egypt if the Renaissance Dam, currently under construction on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, is completed.

"This is because there are huge problems in its design, since the Ethiopians' technical approach is very weak," he said Wednesday according to state news agency MENA, warning that one consequence could be the collapse of the dam.

Mohamady also said that Egypt had not received a report on safety measures relative to the dam.

"In case of its collapse, there will be lots of negative consequences for both Egypt and Sudan," Mohamady added at a symposium organised by the Egyptian-European Council to discuss the dam deadlock.

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