Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meles to hold talks with Egypt rulers over Nile | African news, analysis and opinion – The Africa

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is set to visit Egypt in mid September to discuss the sharing of water from the Nile River by different countries.

Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi - REUTERS/Aaron Maasho

Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi - REUTERS/Aaron Maasho

Egypt and Sudan are not happy with mega dam and irrigation projects that Ethiopia has lined up along the Nile.

Meles’ visit is a follow up to that of Egyptian official who were in Addis Ababa recently to pursue the same issue.

Egypt is worried that plans by its neighbour to build the Renaissance Dam, the biggest water body to constructed on the Nile, will affect water levels in river shared by a number of countries.

The two countries have been holding talks on the issue since April with Ethiopia eager to convince Egypt and Sudan that the dam will not negatively affect the river.

However, Egypt which feared that the water flow will be affected by the dam, prefers a continuing negotiations with Ethiopia.

Meles is expected to meet key officials in Egypt’s governing military council, the head of the ruling military council, Hussein Tantawi, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr.

He will also meet several businessmen and political analysts concerned about the future of relations between Ethiopia and Egypt.

Ethiopia has confirmed that one of its hydro electric projects now under construction, the Renaissance Dam, which will generate 5,250 MW of electricity in the next four years, will not reduce the amount of water flowing downstream.

Construction of the dam will cost US$ 5 billion and would be fully funded by the government and ordinary Ethiopians.

Led by Ethiopia, six upstream countries in May 2010 signed a new treaty in Entebe, Uganda, seeking a more equitable water sharing agreement.

Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda have signed the new treaty.

Other countries say Egypt is trying to use treaties it signed with Britain during the colonial era to deny them full access to the Nile.

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