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Egyptian Government Concerned Over Ethiopian Response on Renaissance Dam

CAIRO, Egypt

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has expressed “concern” over Ethiopia’s failure to respond to an invitation to meet in Cairo to discuss the possible impacts of the Grand Renaissance Dam.

“Egypt is deeply concerned over Ethiopia’s failure to respond to an invitation issued by the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources to a meeting in Cairo to start technical consultations,” according to an official statement released on June 21.

The Sudanese irrigation minister was also invited to attend the meeting, which aimed to hammer out technical issues related to the controversial dam project on the Nile.

“A month has passed since Egypt’s foreign minister paid a visit to Addis Ababa and Khartoum during which Egyptian and Ethiopian officials agreed on urgently starting technical meetings to implement the recommendations of the ad hoc Renaissance Dam assessment committee,” foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati said.

He said further technical studies should be conducted on the dam in order to determine the full scope of its impact on the flow of Nile water to both Egypt and Sudan.

“Egypt’s water security is above any compromise,” Abdel-Ati declared.

Egypt’s new Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi spoke with his Ethiopian counterpart, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, by telephone on June 21.

During the conversation, Fahmi asked for an urgent meeting to settle the dam issue. Fahmi stressed in his first press conference that negotiations with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam would be at the top of Egypt’s foreign policy agenda.

Fahmi met this week with his ministry's top officials onwater security to discuss Nile Basin issues and the proposed meeting with Sudanese and Ethiopian water officials.

An ad hoc tripartite committee was formed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to assess the potential negative impact on Egypt and Sudan’s share of Nile water. The committee said further technical studies should be conducted to prevent possible negative effects on downstream countries.

After a meeting with Egypt’s former foreign minister, Mohamed Kamil Amr, last month, Ethiopian officials promise to start working on the committee’s recommendations.