Ethiopia discards Egypt’s proposal over dam construction

Ethiopia rejected the proposal guaranteeing Egypt the rights to most of the Nile’s waters.
According to news sources, Egyptian officials, in a meeting that was held on January 5th along with Sudanese representatives, introduced a “principles of confidence-building”, a document asking Ethiopia to respect Sudan’s and Egypt’s water security, said Fekahmed Negash, the head of the Ethiopian Water and Energy Ministry’s Boundary and Trans-boundary Rivers Affairs Directorate.
“We will not negotiate on this issue with any country,” Fekahmed said from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “That is why we are saying they should take the issue  to the right platform,” that includes other members of the Nile Basin, he said.
A spokesman for the Egyptian irrigation ministry Khaled Waseef also reportedly said that the Egyptian government has “alternative routes” in dealing with the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam currently being built on the Nile River at the cost of USD 4.2 billion.
The dam located 30 kilometers from Sudan’s border will benefit agricultural and power interests in the region and not cause water losses downstream, the Ethiopian government has repeatedly stated. Sudan supports the hydropower project designed to produce electricity for much of East Africa that began in April 2011.
A spokesperson reportedly said that the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam faces financial as well as technical problems, and that the Ethiopian government’s statements that the project has been 30 percent completed are a “media show” for its own political gains.
He added that the way the dam is currently being built is not up to standards and it would be extremely dangerous to Egypt if it continues to be built as planned. He continued that negotiations with Ethiopia will not resume until Ethiopia changes its position and “applies international standards”.
Egypt argues its 1959 agreement with Sudan that gave Egypt the rights to 55.5 billion cubic meters out of a total of 84 billion cubic meters is the governing document on the Nile’s water. The rest of the river’s flow went to  Sudan or was lost to evaporation. Ethiopia and other upstream nations reject the accord saying that they were not signatories and they say Egypt’s domination of the Nile has unfairly deprived them of a vital resource.
Ethiopia also rejected an Egyptian suggestion to immediately form a panel of neutral experts to adjudicate any disputes arising from planned studies of the dam’s hydrological and environmental impact. Ethiopian Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said that experts could be hired if they’re needed,  during an interview on January 5th in Khartoum.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan decided on December 9th 2013 to form a committee comprising four members from each nation to oversee the studies. The initiative was recommended by a panel of international experts who concluded in May that insufficient work had been done on the dam’s downstream impact while the reservoir is filled and during operation.
Ethiopia has repeatedly refused Egyptian requests to pause construction of a key national project. “There is nothing that will stop it,” Gideon Asfaw, head of Ethiopia’s technical team in Khartoum, said about the dam.
“(Egypt) has escalatory steps to assert our historic rights to the Nile waters,” the Nile dependent country has said.

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