Egypt’s Foreign Minister to arrive in Addis today

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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.

In an official statement issued by the ministry’s spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid, it was affirmed that this move comes in light of the Egyptian will to break the deadlock on the dam’s specialized technical committee work.

Abu Zeid also stated 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.

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. This visit apparently was delayed for about a month as it was supposed to be held during December according to several previous statements.

In November, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Eyi Athacaslasi Amedi announced that Desalegn will deliver a speech in the Egyptian Parliament during his visit to Egypt.

During a meeting between Amedi and the chairman of the African Affairs Committee in the Egyptian Parliament Tarek Radwan, Amedi said that the visit aims to discuss cooperation between the Ethiopian and Egyptian parliaments.

The ambassador also stressed that Ethiopia is keen to continue negotiations with Egypt concerning the Dam project. “Ethiopia is keen to resume negotiations with Egypt and to continue the construction of the Renaissance Dam while taking into account the dam’s significantly harmful effect on Egypt’s share of the Nile water,” he stated.

“On November 12, the last meeting of the Tripartite National Committee on the Renaissance Dam (TNCRD), which was hosted in Cairo, concluded without reaching an agreement regarding the guidelines suggested by a study on the dam’s potential effects on the Nile Basin states,” according to Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Ati.

Abdel Ati issued a statement shortly after the meeting explaining that despite Egypt’s agreement with the study’s guidelines, the other two parties of the TNCRD did not express consensus and called for amendments.

A report based on the study presents guidelines by which Ethiopia can fill its reservoir without harming the water flow into Egypt and Sudan. The $4 billion dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.

Since May 2011, Cairo has voiced its concern over how the dam can reduce the country’s annual share of more than 56 billion cubic meters of Nile water. Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Addis Ababa, however, claimed that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development and will not harm downstream countries.

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