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Ethiopia rejects Egyptian proposition that World Bank join talks over dam

Construction work on the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia on 21 August 2015 [Sigma PlantFinder/Twitter]
Construction work on the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia on 21 August 2015 [Sigma PlantFinder/Twitter]

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has officially rejected an Egyptian proposal that the World Bank join negotiations over the dam that Addis Ababa is constructing on the Nile River, Reuters reported.

Desalegn insisted that his country does not accept the arbitration of any other party in the negotiations held by the tripartite technical committee on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – which Cairo fears would reduce the amount of Nile water that Egypt receives – as long as there is a chance for his country and Egypt and Sudan to resolve pending disagreements without external intervention.

The Ethiopian prime minister urged Egypt to realise the developmental goals of the dam, stressing that its construction will not harm the Egyptian people's lives.

Nile water flows from upstream countries like Ethiopia into downstream countries like Egypt.

Read: Nile water crisis places Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on the brink of war

Desalegn left Cairo on Friday after a two-day visit during which he and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in a joint press conference that it is important to overcome the deadlock related to the technical aspects of negotiations over the dam.

The two leaders added that the two countries discussed developments in the issue and the establishment of an Egyptian industrial park in Ethiopia.

Al-Sisi said that he expressed "grave concerns about the stalemate in the technical aspects of" negotiations over the dam which Ethiopia is constructing and which Egypt fears could affect its share of water.

The Egyptian president noted that the three countries – Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia – are working towards overcoming the current stalemate. He also praised Ethiopia's keenness not to harm Egypt's interests with regard to Nile water.

Read: The assassination of Egypt's Nile

Al-Sisi had said last week that his country will wage war on Ethiopia or Sudan after media reports said that Cairo might take military action if the establishment of the Ethiopian dam did in fact affect its water quota.

Desalegn said: "The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam came as an attempt to overcome poverty and it will not constitute any harm to any entity," adding that a tripartite meeting will be held soon.

He expressed his country's commitment to working with special technical teams to overcome problems.

"Ethiopia did not and will not think, under any circumstances, about threatening Egypt's water security."

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