UN chief asks Egypt, Ethiopia to dialogue on dam row

MENA, Ahram Online, Saturday 15 Jun 2013

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon personally requests Egyptian president Morsi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn to dialogue to resolve grievances over the disputed Renaissance dam

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had phoned Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi as well as Ethiopian premier Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday and Friday respectively, a spokesman for Ki-Moon announced, to recommend the two governments to hold talks over the disputed Renaissance dam project.

The UN chief "spoke with both leaders about the proposed dam project on the Nile River and expressed his desire that they engage in dialogue to resolve differences on that matter," Ki-Moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky added.

Ethiopia began diverting Blue Nile water on 28 May, paving the way for the construction of the $4.2 billion (3.2 billion euro) Grand Renaissance Dam, set to become Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam when completed.

Ethiopian plans have raised concerns in Egypt and Sudan, both dependent on the world's longest river for their water supply.

Earlier in June, Egypt summoned Ethiopian Ambassador Mahmoud Dardir to express his country's displeasure with Ethiopia's diversion of part of the Blue Nile as part of the preparations for the dam's construction.

The dressing down came amid harsh Egyptian criticisms of Ethiopia's decision to go ahead with the project without taking the technical committee's recommendations into account.

The Blue Nile provides Egypt with the lion's share of its annual allotment of 55 billion cubic metres of river water.

Ethiopian officials, meanwhile, have attempted to dispel fears regarding the dam's potential impact, stressing the project would ultimately benefit all the riparian states.

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