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Egypt shows understanding of Ethiopia’s request to delay dam talks 

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egypt expressed understanding of Ethiopia’s request to delay the upcoming tripartite negotiations with Egypt and Sudan over Ethiopia’s grand dam currently being constructed on their shared Nile River, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The tripartite ministerial meeting was scheduled for Feb. 24-25 in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, but Ethiopia’s ongoing political unrest and anti-government protests, which led its prime minister to resign, might be behind the delay.

“The Egyptian Foreign Ministry understands the conditions that might have led Ethiopia to request delaying the meeting and we hope they will be cleared very soon,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement Sunday.

Ethiopia and Sudan eye massive benefits from the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), also known as the Renaissance Dam, while Egypt is concerned it might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile River water.

The presidents of upstream country Ethiopia and the two downstream partners Egypt and Sudan have recently met in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 30th African Union summit and agreed to avoid misunderstandings by joint cooperation on common interests.

“Egypt looks forward to commitment to the time frame set by the three leaders to settle the outstanding technical disagreements, given that the Renaissance Dam issue affects the interests of the three states,” Abu Zeid said on Sunday.

He stressed that the dam issue requires immediate action “in order to reach solutions that preserve the interests of all.”

Ethiopia’s current protests have been triggered by the country’s two biggest ethnic groups Oromia and Amhara who say that they have for years been marginalized by the government.

The country has recently imposed a state of emergency and martial law in an attempt to contain the unrest.

Egypt’s ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil following an uprising that toppled veteran President Hosni Mubarak.

When President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia’s aspiration for development through the GERD that would produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity to the country.

On the other hand, relations between Egypt and Sudan have been tense over the past years on various issues including a territorial dispute over the border region of Halayeb and Shalateen, which are currently under Egyptian control.



Sudan announces delay of tripartite meeting on renaissance dam

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan on Saturday announced delay of a tripartite meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that was scheduled to be held in Khartoum during Feb. 24-25.

“In response to a request by the Ethiopian side, a tripartite meeting on the GERD, which was scheduled to be hosted by Khartoum at its technical and ministerial levels during current Feb. 24-25, has been decided to be postponed to a later date to be agreed on by the three countries (Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia),” said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement.

“The political developments relating to the resignation of the Ethiopian Prime Minister and the ongoing arrangements to appoint his successor necessitated the Republic of Ethiopia to request the postponement of the meetings until a new Prime Minister is elected,” noted the statement.

On Feb. 15, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn turned in his resignation.

Additionally, the Ethiopian Council of Ministers declared a national state of emergency following security challenges, unrest and protests witnessed by the country.

Egypt fears that the construction of the dam would affect its share in the Nile water, while Ethiopia reiterated that the dam is likely to make a shift in its wealth, namely in the field of electricity.

The GERD, extending on an area of 1,800 square km, is scheduled to be completed in three years at a cost of 4.7 billion U.S. dollars.



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