The head of the Middle East Centre for Strategic and Legal Studies, Anwar Eshki, has denied media reports claiming that Saudi Arabia intends to finance the construction of Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam.
Retired General Eshki told Misr Al-Arabia news channel that the aim of the visit to the dam by the senior adviser to the Saudi royal court and board chairman of the Saudi Fund for Development, Ahmed al-Khatib, was to discuss bilateral relations and economic projects between the two countries. He denied reports claiming that Al-Khatib's visit to Ethiopia was retaliation for Egypt's recent support of the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, whom the kingdom opposes.
State-owned Ethiopian television reported that the Saudi adviser met with Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalines on Friday. During the visit, Dessalines asked the Saudis to contribute towards the cost of the dam project. He stressed his country's desire to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in the fields of energy, infrastructure, electricity and agriculture, as well as tourism.
Eshki insisted that Saudi Arabia would not consider anything that could harm Egypt. The government in Riyadh, he added, agreed to fund several investment projects in Ethiopia ten years ago, but circumstances changed, to the detriment of investors.