Sudan Stands by Ethiopia on Dam Project

Sudan's Spokesman Ahmed Bilal Osman 1
Photo: Sudanese information minister and government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman confirmed his governments support for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

A rare disagreement between the Sudan and Egypt over “the possible impact of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam” unveiled on Thursday.

According to the Sudan Tribune, Sudanese government spokesman and minister of information, Ahmed Belal Osman, asked Egypt to stop what he called provocative remarks after an Egyptian opposition leader described Khartoum’s stand on in the issue as “disgusting”.

An Egyptian opposition leader, Ayman Nour, publicly described the Sudanese stand on the Nile as disgusting.

Osman said during a TV interview that Cairo should work with Sudan to safeguard Egypt’s interests instead of resorting to provocations.

He added that Sudan would benefit from the dam, including better supply of electricity and year-long regulation of the Blue Nile’s flow.

“Our view would not please the Egyptians and will upset them but Sudan will benefit greatly from the [Ethiopian] dam,” Osman said.

“The hurtful talk [against] Sudan does not serve the interests [of Egypt]” he added.

Egypt has warned that all options were open to protect “its share” of the Nile waters.

“We cannot let even one drop of Nile water be affected,” President Mohammed Morsi said during talks with political and religious leaders broadcast live on state television on Tuesday.

President Morsi also wrote on his official Twitter account: “It is necessary that we take steps to ensure Egyptian water security.”

“The current situation necessitates unity among our ranks to prevent any threat against Egypt,” President Morsi said.

However Getachew Reda, spokesperson for Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said “We are going to continue with our project, I don’t think it will depend on the will of politicians in Egypt,”

“As far as the will of the Ethiopian government and the will of the Ethiopian people are concerned, there shouldn’t be any question whatsoever about the Renaissance Dam, it will continue,” he added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday, summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia and demanded an official explanation from the Egyptian government for the “provocative” comments made by politicians regarding the ongoing dam construction across the Blue Nile.

The spokesman for the Foreign Minister, Ambassador Dina Mufti, said that the Ethiopian government made a request orally and in writing. He told The Reporter that the government is awaiting the Egyptian response.

“In our part we have explained to them that the dam construction will not affect the downstream countries at all,” Dina said adding “The construction of the dam will benefit everyone”.

Meanwhile, the US has asked the three countries to resolve the problem amicably through dialogue.

Two weeks ago it was disclosed the diverting the Blue Nile some 500m from its natural course, sparking anger from some Egyptian politicians.

The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to form the Nile which then flows through Egypt.

Egypt on Wednesday said it would demand that Ethiopia end construction of the massive dam, which is being built at a cost of USD 4.2-billion.

Embedded Video showing Egyptian politicians’ plot to attack Ethiopia:


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Sudan Reiterates Support of Ethiopia Dam Plans

June 9, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s information minister and government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman insisted today that Sudan would benefit from the controversial Ethiopian renaissance dam and stressed that Ethiopia has engaged Sudan in all operations associated with the dam building.

At a press conference in Khartoum, Osman announced that Sudan’s minister of water resources and electricity Osama Abdalla Mohamed al-Hassan will travel for Cairo early next week.

He said that the ten-member committee which includes representatives from Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt as well as international experts has dispelled all concerns raised about the dam, adding that Sudan is ready to send experts and technicians to help in the construction of the dam.

The Sudanese official also downplayed fears of a possible collapse of the dam which could lead to flooding Sudan and said that construction technology has improved and added that the Italian company which is building the dam would not risk its reputation, noting that Khartoum is keen on strengthening relations with Cairo and Addis Ababa.

Osman mentioned that several dams such as Al-Rusairs dam in East Sudan and the Aswan dam in Egypt which accommodates 162 billion cubic meters of water have survived for tens of years and did not crumble.

He said that Sudan sacrificed 22 villages and a million palm trees and an entire civilization in the far north in order to allow the Egyptians build the Aswan dam in 1964.

Osman demanded those whom he said do not comprehend the sanctity of the relations between Egypt and Sudan to stop “muddling”.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, formerly known as the Millennium Dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile 40km from the Sudanese border.

Egypt and Sudan had previously argued that the construction of the dam would negatively affect their water shares and insisted the project should be blocked, calling on international donors against funding it.

However Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir announced his support to the project in March 2012, saying his government understands the mutual benefits the project could offer Ethiopia and Sudan.

Khartoum’s stance have aggravated Egypt in recent weeks with many political figures blasting Sudan’s “treachery”.

Egypt believes its “historic rights” to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile’s flow and give it veto power over upstream projects.

But a new deal was signed in 2010 by other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, allowing them to work on river projects without Cairo’s prior agreement.

The first phase of construction of the $4.2 billion dam is expected to be complete in three years, with a capacity of 700 megawatts.

Once complete, the dam will have a capacity of 6,000 megawatts.

Source: Sudan Tribune