Egypt remains ï¿½concernedï¿½ over Ethiopiaï¿½s Nile River dam project
Mohammad Awad and Joseph Mayton | 25 September 2012 |
Egypt says still ï¿½concernedï¿½ over Ethiopia dam project.
CAIRO and ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopiaï¿½s ambitious Nile River dam project
remains under the watchful gaze of Egypt. While Cairo denied any
intention of attacking the dam, the countryï¿½s Water Resources and
Irrigation Minister Mohamed Bahaa el-Din said on Saturday that his
country was maintaining its concerns about the construction of the
Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia.
He did say that officials at the Ethiopia foreign ministry ï¿½assured
Egypt and Sudan that in case there was any impact on their water quota
to the dam, other projects will be carried out to collect lost water
and cover shortages.ï¿½
It is the latest in the ongoing battle for the worldï¿½s largest riverï¿½s
water, with Egypt and Sudan continuing to remain obstinate in amending
any of the colonial treaties that guarantee their countries with a
lionï¿½s share of water from the Nile.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month called on Ethiopia to
slow its construction and planning for the dam, citing economic
concerns for the country.
Whistleblower site Wikileaks released documents this month that
revealed Egypt and Sudan had been planning to attack an Ethiopian dam
project to ï¿½protectï¿½ their rights over Nile water based on colonial
In documents revealed by Wikileaks, the Egyptian and Sudanese
government appeared ready to develop a launching pad for an attack by
Egypt against the dam.
Wikileaks has leaked files allegedly from the Texas-based global
intelligence company, Stratfor, which quote an anonymous ï¿½high-level
Egyptian source,ï¿½ which reported that the Egyptian ambassador to
Lebanon said in 2010 that Egypt ï¿½would do anything to prevent the
secession of South Sudan because of the political implications it will
have for Egyptï¿½s access to the Nile.ï¿½
Ethiopiaï¿½s massive dam project has seen much concern from Cairo and
Khartoum, who fear the establishment of Africaï¿½s largest dam would
affect previous colonial deals on Nile water-sharing.
It is to be built some 40 kilometers upstream from Sudan on the Blue
But even before the official announcement of Ethiopiaï¿½s prime
ministerï¿½s passing on August 20, Egyptian officials told Bikyamasr.com
that they believed a post-Meles region could bring forth new
negotiations and compromise over Nile water.
An Egyptian ministry of water and irrigation told Bikyamasr.com last
month, two weeks before Zenawi was pronounced dead, that with the
combination of Egyptï¿½s new President Morsi and the potential of seeing
a new leader in Ethiopia, they hoped the tension over Nile River water
could be resolved.
ï¿½While this can in no way be official policy at this point, I believe
that there would be more maneuvering with a new leadership in Ethiopia
because there would be the ability to communicate and not be seen as
antagonistic,ï¿½ the official said, adding that they were not authorized
to speak to the media.
ï¿½Let us be frank about the situation between Egypt and other Nile
countries,ï¿½ the official continued. ï¿½We in Egypt have not been the
best at compromise so I think overall, there is so much that can be
done to help bring countries together, and Ethiopia has been a leader
in its criticism of Egypt so starting there would be good.ï¿½
With the Nile comes a new set of issues, and with Egypt holding onto a
lionï¿½s share of water from the worldï¿½s largest river, upstream
countries such as Ethiopia have taken it on their own to begin
building dams and other water related endeavors, much to the anger of
However, officials hope that solutions can be had in the new post-
revolution Egypt that could see the growing tension between countries
along the Nile reduce.
ï¿½While Egypt never wants to mingle in another countryï¿½s affairs, a new
leadership in Ethiopia would go a long way to changing how things are
run, just like it has in Egypt,ï¿½ the official added.
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