Egypt 'deeply worried' by Nile water row with Ethiopia

CAIRO Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:41am EDT

A fisherman uses a net to fish while another man rows their boat on the river Nile in Cairo April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

A fisherman uses a net to fish while another man rows their boat on the river Nile in Cairo April 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt said on Saturday it was highly concerned that Ethiopia had not responded to an invitation to discuss a dispute over a giant dam that Ethiopia plans to build on the river Nile.

"Egypt is deeply worried that Ethiopia has not yet reacted to the invitation Egypt's minister of water and irrigation made to conduct a meeting in Cairo on the consequences of the dam," a statement issued by the foreign ministry said.

Egypt fears the dam will reduce water flows vital for its 84 million people.

Recently ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said last month that "all options" were open in dealing with the issue, prompting Ethiopia to say it was ready to defend its $4.7 billion dam, set to be built near its border with Sudan.

The foreign ministry statement, issued just days after an interim cabinet was sworn into office in Cairo, shows the dam issue is a major priority for the new government.

Ethiopia summoned the Egyptian ambassador last month after politicians in Cairo were shown on television suggesting military action or supporting Ethiopian rebels.

Egypt also last month hosted an experts' meeting to study the impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan, the two downstream Nile states. The foreign ministry said Cairo's proposed meeting was going to discuss that study, but gave no further details.

Egypt, whose population of 84 million uses almost all of the Nile water available to it, cites a 1929 pact which entitled Cairo to 55.5 billion cubic meters a year of the Nile's flow of around 84 billion cubic meters.

Ethiopia and five other upstream Nile states, such as Kenya and Uganda, say Egypt's claims are outdated and have signed a deal effectively stripping Cairo of its veto based on colonial-era treaties over dam projects on the river.

(Reporting by Ayman Samir, Writing by Yasmine Saleh; editing by Crispian Balmer)

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Comments (6)
Jelus wrote:
Ethiopia should negotiate with legitimate government. Now in Egypt there is no viable government elected by the people that representing Egypt. Negetiating with unelected governmental is a dangerous game for Ethiopia. Now Egypt was suspended from the part of Africa Unity. These brutal millitary may use Nile game negotiation for political purpose. Ethiopia should work the birth of Democratic goverment of Egypt. All leaders of TG are the collection of the detector Mubarak goverment . Democratically elected government is peace for Ethiopia and then for the whole Africa. It is advisable for the government of Ethiopia to oppose the the military coup of Egypt

Jul 20, 2013 1:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
allOZ wrote:
What is there to Discuss? Honestly?
How can Ethiopia supply upto 85% of the water and be ALLOWED to use close to ZERO! That 1929 treaty does NOT include Ethiopia, they were never consulted about THEIR waters so Egypt holding them to it is laughable.

Egyptians need the water which is true, they absolutely do otherwise it could harm them in the long run, but FAMINE HUNGER & DROUGHT are words associated with Ethiopia, no? Yes even Drought!

Egypt should ASK not TELL or even begin to dictate terms, they don’t have a leg to stand on.

& Jelus point is sp0t on. The sooner egypt sort out who’s in charge, the sooner they can formally talk to Ethiopia.

Jul 20, 2013 10:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
iue wrote:
Jelus … you gave them the right response.

Plus, I don’t think they are expecting Ethiopia to explain for them the outcome of tripartite committee. Egypt, please you could hire some professionals to interpret it for you in case you don’t have one. No invitation is required, just go and read the report. That is it, you will get your answer. No discussion required unless you need some help from Ethiopia side to help you understand the document.

Jul 21, 2013 7:40am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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