Sudanese FM says his country impartial in Egypt-Ethiopia crisis over Renaissance Dam

Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Feb 2014

Sudan is neither on Egypt's nor Ethiopia's side and will pursue its attempts to bridge the gap between the two countries, says the Sudanese minister of foreign affairs

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti attends the Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Baghdad March 28, 2012. (Reuters)

Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Karti said on Wednesday his country is not taking sides in the crisis between Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of the Renaissance Dam.

"We will continue our efforts to bridge the gap between Ethiopia and Egypt on the disagreements about the Renaissance Dam," Karti told Sudanese newspaper The Sudan Tribune, stressing on the neutrality of Sudan in the talks.

The planned Grand Renaissance Dam is a $4.2 billion hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, one of the main tributaries of the Nile.

The project has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government since May last year, when images of the dam's construction stirred public anxiety about possible effects on Egypt's share of the Nile water, the country's main source of potable water.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan formed a tripartite technical committee to study the possible effects of the dam and try to generate consensus. Ethiopia maintains that Egypt's water share will not be negatively affected by the successful completion of the project.

In recent meetings in Khartoum, the tripartite committee was scheduled to formulate a document that entails "confidence building measures" between the countries, and also to form a special international conflict-resolution committee.

However, the tripartite committee's success was thwarted last December when Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir announced his support for the dam during a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

The Egyptian minister of irrigation said on Tuesday that unless Ethiopia offers a mutually agreeable solution, Egypt may officially demand the Ethiopian government to stop the construction of the Renaissance Dam.

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