Egypt rejects reports blaming it for Nile dam talks failure
FILE - In this Wednesday, April 29, 2015 file photo, a pleasure boat carrying tourists and locals sails in the Nile River at sunset in Aswan, Egypt. Egypt has criticized reports blaming it for the failure of a recent round of talks with Ethiopia and Sudan to reach an agreement over Ethiopiaâs massive dam on the Blue Nile River, a tributary of the Nile River. Thursdayâs statement by Egyptâs Foreign Ministry says Egypt participated in last weekâs meeting in Khartoum âwith a positive spirit and a serious desire to reach an agreement.â. (Mosaâab Elshamy, File/Associated Press) April 13
CAIRO â" Egypt has criticized reports blaming it for the failure of recent talks with Ethiopia and Sudan to reach an agreement over Ethiop iaâs massive dam under construction on a Nile River tributary, and called for a new round of talks to be held in Cairo.
Last weekâs discussions included chiefs of intelligence and ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, and were the latest attempt to resolve the lingering dispute over the damâs downstream impact. The meeting took place in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and lasted about 15 hours but ended with no deal.
Egypt fears the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam would impact its share of the Nile River, which serves as a lifeline for the countryâs 100 million people. Ethiopia, like Egypt, has said that the dam issue is a âmatter of life or death.â Sudan appears to be taking Ethiopiaâs side of the negotiations.
Egyptâs Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday that it participated in last weekâs meeting âwith a positive spirit and a serious desire to reach an agreement.â It was released after reports emerged suggesting that Egypt is responsible for hampering the negotiations.
Ethiopiaâs official news agency, ENA, quoted its Foreign Ministry spokesman Meles Alem as saying that Egypt brought up the 1959 accord between Egypt and Sudan during the talks. Egypt receives the lionâs share of the Nileâs waters under that agreement, seen by other Nile nations including Ethiopia as unfair and ignoring their own large populationsâ needs.
âEthiopiaâs initiation to minimize any significant harm to downstream countries has long been expressed practically and will continue,â Alem said. âBut there will never be negotiation on any agreement that we were never part (of).â
Egypt, however, denied the âaccuracyâ of the reports and said Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukryâs call for another meeting with his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts in Cairo serves as âclear evidenceâ of its keenness to reach a deal.
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