(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
Egypt FM in Ethiopia to End Standoff in Talks on Nile Dam
Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry is scheduled to head to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday to resume the negotiations with his counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu regarding the Renaissance Dam project on the Nile River.
The talks aim at breaking over the dam, which Addis Ababa is building on one of the main tributaries of the Nile.
Cairo said the dam would threaten water supplies that have fed Egypt’s agriculture and economy for thousands of years.
Ethiopia, for its part, said the dam, which it hopes will help make it Africa’s largest power exporter, will have no major effect on Egypt.
It accuses Cairo of flexing its political muscle to deter financiers from backing other Ethiopian power projects.
Egyptian officials said safeguarding the country’s quota of Nile water is a matter of national security.
“No one can touch Egypt’s water … (which) means life or death for a population,” President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said last month.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Ahmed Abou Zeid affirmed in a statement that this move comes in light of the Egyptian desire to end the standoff in talks on the dam’s specialized technical committee work.
Abou Zeid also said that Shoukry’s visit aims to express Egypt’s good intentions regarding cooperating and rebuilding confidence with Ethiopia to preserve both countries’ rights to Nile water.
Delegations from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in Cairo in November to approve a study by a French firm commissioned to assess the dam’s environmental and economic impact.
However, negotiations stalled when they failed to agree on the initial report with each blaming others for blocking progress.
Shoukry is willing to bring new ideas and proposals to light to help the technical committee in its work, according to the statement.
The negotiations will also include discussing the details of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s visit to Egypt next January.