Ethiopia urges Egypt to stop 'unnecessary noise' on Nile dam
Thursday, April 24, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday called on Egypt to stop what he described as "unnecessary noise" about a Nile dam project.
"Ethiopia has been working with riparian countries towards bringing about fair and equitable utilization of the Nile waters," Desalegn told the House of Peoples' Representatives, Ethiopia's lower house of parliament.
"Egypt should come on board instead of making unnecessary noise," he said as he presented a report about his government performance to the parliament.
Ethiopia is building a $6.4-billion dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt's primary source of water.
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
Desalegn said that Cairo has launched an international campaign against the Grand Renaissance Dam.
"Egypt we know is preparing to take the case to the United Nations, but Ethiopia is ready for that," he said, going on to say that the 31 percent of the dam project has completed.
The Ethiopian premier said that his government has been lobbying upper riparian countries to ratify the Comprehensive Framework Agreement, known as the Entebe agreement.
Signed in 2010 by six riparian countries, the agreement aims to replace a 1959 colonial-era treaty that gives Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
Desalegn told the MPs that Ethiopia has already ratified the agreement, while Kenya, Uganda and Burundi have referred the bill to their parliaments for endorsement.
"We are pushing Tanzania to follow suit," he said, going on to say that South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo would also implement the agreement.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister said that his country has forged strategic cooperation frameworks with all neighboring nations except Eritrea.
Tensions between Addis Ababa and Asmara have persisted since a bloody two-year border war – in which tens of thousands were killed – ended in 2000.
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