Egypt 'suspends meetings with Russia's ROSATOM nuclear firm'

Egypt 'suspends meetings with Russia's ROSATOM state nuclear firm' building El-Dabaa power plant
2 min read
19 July, 2021
The ROSATOM meetings were being held with the Egyptian electricity ministry but have been paused due to tensions over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
ROSATOM is charged with constructing Egypt's El Dabaa nuclear power plant [Anton Vaganov/TASS/Getty]

Egypt has paused technical meetings with the Russian state-owned ROSATOM nuclear energy firm, charged with constructing the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant per a 2017 deal, Egyptian sources have said.

The ROSATOM meetings were due to be held with the Egyptian electricity ministry, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Monday.

Sources told the website: "The tension which hangs over the relations between the two countries [is] because of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis and Moscow revealing a clear supportive stance towards Ethiopia."

This "has affected the technical meetings related to the of the building of the El-Dabaa nuclear plant".

According to ROSATOM, the construction of the El-Dabaa plant could cost as much as $21 billion.

The Egyptian sources claimed that senior technical representatives from the nation's electricity ministry and nuclear authority were stopped from going to Moscow.

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They were due to travel to Russia to discuss the El-Dabaa construction deal.

The decision to disallow this visit followed Russia's support for Ethiopia in the GERD dispute with Egypt, as well as news that Moscow had reached a military deal with Addis Ababa.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed's sources noted that the issues between Egypt and Russia began prior nto a 8 July United Nations Security Council meeting on the GERD project.

Moscow noted points of departure between it and Egypt, with Cairo's stance towards the US being a key issue.

Egypt said it would halt an agreement with Russia for the purchase of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets shortly before Cairo was due to receive its first shipment.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had informed his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry that Washington was not happy with the Russian arms deal, with suggestions it could lead to US sanctions on Cairo.

Back in 2019, Cairo reached a deal worth $2 billion with Moscow for around 20 Su-35s.

Despite Cairo's posturing on the El-Dabaa plant, the sources claimed this was only an attempt to encourage Moscow to back Egypt as Ethiopia completes its second filling of the GERD.

Egypt and its neighbour Sudan are both vehemently opposed to the GERD project saying it could reduce their citizens' availability of freshwater and could cause serious harm to the food security and livelihoods.

Sudan said on Saturday that the water supplies from the Blue Nile continued to fall by up to half as a result of the dam's second filling.