Egypt to join Ethiopia in Renaissance Dam project

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Egypt and Ethiopia may soon reach an agreement over the construction of the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. Both countries have recently shown good faith and agreed to negotiate about the project.

Egypt has even agreed to take part in building the dam, though without declaring its conditions for doing so. Recently, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced that his country welcomes the participation of Egypt and Sudan in the construction of the dam and stressed that his government considers the dam to be jointly owned by Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt. Egypt viewed his statement as a positive step toward reaching a consensus on the project, despite its earlier sharp criticism of it.

Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib said Egypt doesn’t mind joining the Ethiopian government in building the dam for the service and development of the Ethiopian people. He however said they must agree on a number of items in a clear way to prevent any damage to Egypt as a result of the dam construction adding that the Egyptian government always opts for cooperation and participation.

Egypt gets 55.5 billion m3 of Nile water annually in accordance with the 1959 agreement signed between Egypt and Sudan.

About 85percent of that share comes from the Ethiopian plateau, in particular from the Blue Nile tributary, on which Ethiopia intends to build the Renaissance Dam to store 63 billion m3 of water and generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. The Ethiopian, Sudanese and Egyptian water ministers are expected to meet in Khartoum to discuss the May report of the Tripartite Commission on the repercussions of the dam and how to implement the report’s recommendations for avoiding harm to any of the Nile states.

On October 8, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Biblawi met with the Supreme Committee for the Nile Water to agree on negotiating mechanisms for dealing with Ethiopia. The gathering ended with approval for Egypt taking part in the dam’s construction.