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Ethiopia Pours Water on Egypt’s Nile Rights Claim Ahead of Dam Talks
By Staff, Agencies
Ethiopia opened the floodgates to further controversy over a giant dam scheme by rejecting Egypt’s historic claims to the waters of the Nile.
Ahead of the anticipated resumption of stalled talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD] project, two Ethiopian ministers poured water over the Egyptian stance on river rights.
In a speech to political party representatives and religious leaders regarding the latest developments in GERD negotiations, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele said the talks, also involving Sudan, were being “clouded by Egypt’s tendency to recall and confirm the so-called [historic rights] in water, which can never be accepted by Ethiopia or Nile-sharing countries.”
Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew added that his country’s position was firm with regard to utilizing its water resources in a fair way “in accordance with the agreed cooperation principles and not causing any major damage.”
Meanwhile, Ethiopian religious leaders called on the government to press ahead with the construction of the dam while negotiating with Nile-sharing countries.
Ethiopia’s official news agency ENA, reported that a statement issued during a press conference by the Ethiopian inter-religious council of seven institutions, “underlined Ethiopia’s natural right in developing the Nile.” The council also called for the resumption of tripartite discussions.
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