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Egyptian parliament forms 'special committee' on Renaissance Dam crisis

Image of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia [file photo]
Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia [file photo]

The Egyptian parliament voted, on Wednesday, to form a special committee headed by its deputy to discuss the cabinet statement delivered by Prime Minister Mostafa Kamal Madbouly on the stalled negotiations on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

According to the official Egyptian news agency, Ali Abdel Aal, Speaker of the House of Representatives, referred the statement of the government, which was submitted by its head, and the ministers of foreign affairs, irrigation and housing, on the crisis of the Renaissance Dam, to a special committee, headed by Suleiman Wahdan, the second deputy of parliament.

The Committee includes the foreign relations, African affairs, defence and national security committees, and is expected to write a report and send it to the Bureau of Cabinet for discussion in a plenary.

According to local media, the Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives said in a meeting Wednesday that while his country "is keen to protect its vital interests, national security, and its inalienable rights by virtue of history, international covenants and conventions, it stresses that it will not allow the undermining of its rights in the waters of the Nile River, as a vital issue."

The Egyptian Prime Minister reiterated before the parliament on Wednesday his country's adherence to an international mediator in the negotiations on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, stressing its refusal to undermine its share in the waters of the Nile River.

Read: Egypt says talks over Ethiopia's Nile dam deadlocked, calls for mediation

Madbouly also stressed that "the agreement on the Declaration of Principles was reached between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in March 2015, and this declaration includes the constants and foundations of one party's non-harming of the other."

Earlier on Wednesday, the official Ethiopian news agency quoted a statement by the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, stressing that "Egypt's new proposal on the Renaissance Dam has become a point of disagreement between the two countries (…) as it had crossed the red line drawn by Ethiopia."

The statement went on, "Egypt proposed the release of 40 billion cubic meters of water each year, and release more water when the Aswan Dam (southern Egypt) reaches less than 165 meters above sea level, and called for a fourth party in the discussions between the three countries," which has not been possible to confirm by the Egyptian authorities immediately.

Ethiopia has repeatedly said that negotiations have not reached a dead end and that Egypt is stipulating "unreasonable demands", according to previous statements by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele.

Cairo fears a possible negative impact of the dam on the flow of its annual share of the Nile River water (55 billion cubic meters), while Sudan gets 18.5 billion cubic meters.

In return, Ethiopia says it does not aim to undermine Egypt's interests and that the dam is basically aimed at generating electricity.

Read: Meetings of Ethiopian dam committee begin in Khartoum

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