July 1, 2013

Ethiopia to resolve Nile dam dispute with Egypt

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom has expressed his willingness to negotiate with Egypt to resolve the dispute over the Nile.

 

A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony.
A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony.

Adhanom made his remarks on Sunday, during a trip to Algeria, saying, “There is no reason that we cannot reach an agreement that benefits all Nile countries.”

Ethiopian foreign minister, in a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci, emphasized on Ethiopia’s commitment to tackle the problem through dialogue.

He went on to say that the “international mediation” would not be ruled out if the talks fail.

The row erupted last month, when Ethiopia said it had begun diverting the flow of the Blue Nile for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam – a USD 4.2-billion hydroelectric plant.

The issue of Ethiopian dam sparked outrage in Egypt with fears that the Nile dam would cause serious water shortage in the country.

On June 11, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi warned Ethiopian leaders that “all options are open on the table” if the dam over Nile jeopardizes the country’s water security.

Adhanom said he is to hold talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in Cairo in the near future, following a round of negotiations held earlier this month in Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

On June 13, Ethiopia’s parliament approved a measure to push ahead with its Nile River dam project, while changing a colonial-era deal that gave Egypt and Sudan majority stake in the longest river in the world.

Ethiopia’s 547-member parliament unanimously agreed to ratify NBI’s Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which states that a committee must be established to oversee Nile projects, including the controversial hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia.

The agreement was previously endorsed by five other riparian states — Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi.

The Nile, located in the northeast Africa, supplies water to Egypt and Sudan. It is formed from two rivers: the Blue Nile that starts in Ethiopia and the White Nile, which starts in Uganda. Egypt is dependent on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the river.

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