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Ethiopia has 'no intention' of harm toward Egypt, Sudan with mega dam project: Abiy Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ethiopia has 'no intention' of harm toward Egypt, Sudan with mega dam project: Abiy

Abiy Ahmed said he remains committed to reaching an agreement over the dam [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 September, 2020

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Ethiopia's prime minister has defended his country's controversial Grand Renaissance Dam project, days after Egyptian criticism at the UN.
Ethiopia has "no intention" of harming Sudan and Egypt with its controversial gian hydropower dam project on the Blue Nile, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Friday.

Addressing the United Nations, Abiy raised the issue of the bitter water dispute that the three countries have so far failed to reach an agreement over.

Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

"I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no intention to harm these countries," he told the 193-member UN General Assembly in a video statement.

"We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing AU-led process," Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy said.

Previous negotiations broke down over an insistence from Egypt and Sudan that any deal produced should be legally binding. The countries also disagreed on the mechanism for resolving future disputes and how the dam should be managed during droughts and periods of reduced rainfall.

Negotiations have previously faltered over a demand from Egypt and Sudan that any deal should be legally binding, over the mechanism for resolving future disputes, and over how to manage the dam during periods of reduced rainfall or drought.

Egypt, which says it relies on the Nile for over 90% of its fresh water, has long expressed concern that the Grand Renaissance Dam will devestate its economy.

Earlier this week Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated his objections to the project to the UN.

"The Nile River must not be monopolized by one state. For Egypt the Nile water is an existential matter. This, however, does not mean that we want to undermine the rights of our brothers and sisters, sharing with us the Nile basin," he said.

"Nevertheless, it is unacceptable for the negotiations to continue forever in an attempt to impose the realities on the ground," Sisi said.

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