Egypt anxious as Nile-dam talks delayed amid Ethiopia chaos
Talks over a controversial dam on the Nile that has raised Egyptian concern have been stalled amid turmoil in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on Friday, a move capping a tumultuous week that saw the prime minister step down, a strike in the country's largest region and a massive prisoner amnesty.
Ethiopia said that the state of emergency will remain in place for six months, as the authorities banned protests to quell what they termed "chaos and unruliness".
Amid the worst anti-government protests in decades, Ethiopia asked Egypt to delay a meeting on the dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry has accepted the request, saying it understands "the circumstances that might have led Ethiopia to request delaying the meeting".
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told local media on Sunday the delay was "definitely not in Egypt's best interest".
The meeting, which was to discuss contentious issues over the dam, which Egypt fears could reduce its share of the Nile waters, was to include Sudan and take place in Khartoum later this month.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last month in Cairo.
The leaders said they were opposed to any "conflict" over the sharing of Nile waters.
Egypt relies almost totally on the Nile for irrigation and drinking water, and says it has "historic rights" to the river, guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959.
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam project on the Blue Nile, launched in 2011, is designed to feed a hydroelectric project to produce 6,000 megawatts of power, equal to six nuclear-powered plants.
Unrest first broke out in Ethiopia among the Oromo people in late 2015 when the government proposed expanding the capital's boundaries into their federal region, Oromia.
The protests later spread across the country, leading to hundreds of deaths, tens of thousands of arrests and the declaration of a 10-month state of emergency in October 2016.