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Ethiopia seeks Egypt and Sudan support in key dam project

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October 10, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia has called on Sudan and Egypt to support its building of Africa’s largest Hydro power dam project along the Nile River saying the ongoing construction of the Grand Renaissance dam will benefit the three countries.

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Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when completed, will reduce the capacity of the Aswan High Dam, helping to save about six billion cubic metres of water. Image courtesy of Hajor.

According to a statement released on Thursday from the office of the Ethiopia prime minister, downstream countries particularly Egypt should support construction of the dam and drop its long-standing objection against the project.

Egypt has been protesting against the dam arguing that the construction will diminish its water share.

The Nile water is a source to 95 % of Egypt’s water demand. Ethiopia’s massive dam project has been a major economic and water security concern to the North African Nation.

When Ethiopia diverted the flow of the Nile water in May as part of the engineering work, tension between Addis Ababa and Cairo escalated.

Sudan has officially backed the project and offered support after a tripartite international experts group which had been tasked to assess the potential impacts announced that the project will not have any significant impact on downstream countries.

Egypt however refused to accept the final findings saying the report was inadequate and sought another study on the likely impact of the dam of its share of the water.

At a news conference this week, Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn called on Cairo and Khartoum to actively and practically begin to engage in cooperating and providing support for Ethiopia to finish the “regional project”

The premier reiterated that his country will continue to push forward the construction of the dam despite discomfort from downstream countries.

He said the benefits from the hydro dam facility will be shared between the three countries and Sudan and Egypt need to contribute to the construction of the 4.6 billion dollar project which Ethiopia is currently financing it from it own coffers.

Ethiopia says the dam project won’t harm Sudan or Egypt but will benefit them by providing cheap and clean energy, by controlling over flooding, reducing siltation as well as contributing to regional economic integration.

(ST)

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