Egyptian Ambassador: Ethiopia Dam “a Reality” to Cope with

Abay_Dam_Abai_Dam_Ethiopia

Egypt’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Mohamed Idrees described Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam as a “reality” that Egypt must cope with and added that his country’s goal in its ongoing dialogue with Ethiopia is not to shut down the project, but to find ways for both countries to benefit from it.

In statements to an Egyptian media delegation in Addis Ababa on Monday, Idrees said that the tripartite technical committee, made up of experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, will conclude its meetings in Addis Ababa on Wednesday and submit a report on the impact construction of the Renaissance Dam will have. He added that the committee members visited the dam on Monday.

Potential repercussions from the dam cannot be properly assessed before the committee has to submit its report, he said, while clarifying that the committee’s findings and any recommendations it makes will not be binding.

Asked if Egypt had proposed to Ethiopia alternatives for power generation that could replace the dam, Idrees said that this might be discussed once the committee submits its report. Establishing power stations instead of the dam, however, would not produce sufficient energy, he added.

The dam is a national project for Ethiopians, one as significant as Egypt’s High Dam, Idrees said. He added that the Ethiopian prime minister, on the sidelines of the African Union summit, had reassured President Mohamed Morsy that Ethiopia did not seek to infringe on Egypt’s rights, and expressed to him the hope that the project would benefit Egypt and Sudan as well.

They also agreed that the project would be discussed further at the presidential and technical levels.

Previous discussions on this issue were constrained by tense relations between the two countries, which originated from the assassination attempt on former President Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995. After the 25 January revolution, relations thawed and the two countries exchanged official and cultural visits, Idrees said.

“It was wrong to confine relations with Africa to water issues and relations with Ethiopia to the issue of the dam…these relations have changed and Egypt now seeks greater interaction with Africa, but we still need coordination and a plan in order for these initiatives to be sustainable rather than cursory.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

Source: Egypt Independent

Related News

Ethiopian dam won’t affect Nile water share: Egypt presidency

Egyptian presidency says Ethiopia’s announcement to divert the passage of the Blue Nile for its dam project will not affect Egypt’s share of Nile water negatively

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 May 2013

The Egyptian president’s office announced Tuesday that the ongoing construction work by the Ethiopian government to divert the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its project to build a new dam, will not affect Egypt’s share of the Nile water negatively.

“Any architectural project on the Nile River requires diverting the course of the water passageways before starting construction. It will not affect Egypt’s share of the Nile water,” said presidential spokesman Omar Amer in a news conference Tuesday.

Ethiopia said on Monday it will begin on Tuesday diverting the course of the Blue Nile, as part of its project to build a new dam.

The Renaissance Dam, which is currently under construction, has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government. A report by a tripartite technical committee, which includes members from Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, on the effects of the dam is expected in the next few days.

Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people, according to Egypt’s National Planning Institute.

Source: Ahram.org