Egypt FM hails 'positive' Tanzanian stance on Ethiopia dam

Marina Barsoum , Sunday 23 Feb 2014

Tanzania's president tells Egypt's foreign minister that his country will work hard to ensure that the Nile remains a source of cooperation between Nile Basin countries, not conflict

Fahmy with Tanzanian President
Egypt`s Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, meeting with the Tanzanian President on Sunday Feb. 23,2014 (Photo: courtesy of Fahmy`s official Facebook page)

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has said Nile Basin countries should consult and decide on a mutual agreeable arrangement prior to the construction of any dams that impact several countries, stated Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.

Fahmy met Kikwete Sunday to address several important issues, among them the crisis over the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia aims to build.

Interim President Adly Mansour sent a written message with Fahmy to the Tanzanian president focused on strengthening bilateral ties between Egypt and Tanzania in different fields. 

Foreign ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Ati told Ahram Online that the reaction of the Tanzanian president on the issue of the Renaissance Dam was "positive."

"The Tanzanian president was understanding on the situation and stressed that no country should suffer or be harmed from the consequences of the Renaissance Dam," said Abdel Ati.

On an official Facebook page, Fahmy posted on Sunday the details of his meeting with Kikwete, and how understanding the latter was to the fact that Egypt depends on the Nile for almost 95 percent of its water.

Fahmy also addressed the relationship with the African Union and the importance of a speedy resolution with its Peace and Security Council to allow Egypt — suspended from the organisation following the army's ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 — to return to its natural role within the union as one of its founding members, noting that upcoming presidential elections would be a crucial step in this regard.

It was also posted that the Tanzanian president explained during the meeting that notification and consultation with downstream countries should take place prior to the establishment of any project that would affect the flow of Nile waters.

Kikwete then said Tanzania would do its utmost to ensure the Nile remains a source of cooperation between Nile Basin countries.

Abdel Ati told the state-owned MENA news agency that cooperation between Nile Basin countries should proceed with an emphasis on dialogue and understanding of the needs of others, in order to achieve common benefits for all countries.

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 Nile waters, the country's main source of potable water.

Meanwhile, project leader Semegnew Bekele says construction of the Renaissance Dam is progressing according to schedule.

Bekele said that 30 percent of the project is already completed.

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