Tuesday Jun 18, 201304:46 PM GMT
Egypt, Ethiopia agree to end tensions over Nile River Dam
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.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:40PM
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Ethiopia and Egypt have agreed on more dialogue to put an end to rising tensions over a dam project on the Nile River.


Last month, 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 has sparked outrage in Egypt. The dam is feared to cause serious water shortage in the country.

On Tuesday, Ethiopia's Tedros Adhanom met his Egyptian counterpart Kamel Amr saying that “We have two options, either to swim or sink together. I think Ethiopia chooses, and so does Egypt, to swim together.”

For his part, Egyptian foreign minister said, “We are embarking on a period of mutual cooperation. We're looking to the future and I think the future will be very good for both of us.”

On June 6, a senior Egyptian government aide said Cairo would demand Addis Ababa stop the construction.

On the same day, Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia Trek Ghoneim was summoned to give an official explanation regarding the “hostile remarks,” by Egyptian politicians about the dam project.

Early this month, Egyptian politicians warned against a diminished share of the Nile River, while proposing a plan to sabotage or aid rebels against the Addis Ababa government.

Egypt faces a water crisis as its population increases. In the 1960s, the average water share per person was 2,800 cubic meters. Now, the figure has dropped to 600 cubic meters, much below the poverty line, which is 1,000 cubic meters per person.

On June 2, Egyptians gathered outside the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo, calling for a halt to the construction of the dam.

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

MAM/KA
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