Friday, April 25, 2014

Ethiopia urges Egypt to stop 'unnecessary noise' on Nile dam

thiopia urges Egypt to stop 'unnecessary noise' on Nile dam

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam will reduce its historical share of Nile water
Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam will reduce its historical share of Nile water
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday called on Egypt to stop what he described as "unnecessary noise" about a Nile dam project.
"Ethiopia has been working with riparian countries towards bringing about fair and equitable utilization of the Nile waters," Desalegn told the House of Peoples' Representatives, Ethiopia's lower house of parliament.
"Egypt should come on board instead of making unnecessary noise," he said as he presented a report about his government performance to the parliament.
Ethiopia is building a $6.4-billion dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt's primary source of water.
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
Desalegn said that Cairo has launched an international campaign against the Grand Renaissance Dam.
"Egypt we know is preparing to take the case to the United Nations, but Ethiopia is ready for that," he said, going on to say that the 31 percent of the dam project has completed.
The Ethiopian premier said that his government has been lobbying upper riparian countries to ratify the Comprehensive Framework Agreement, known as the Entebe agreement.
Signed in 2010 by six riparian countries, the agreement aims to replace a 1959 colonial-era treaty that gives Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water.
Desalegn told the MPs that Ethiopia has already ratified the agreement, while Kenya, Uganda and Burundi have referred the bill to their parliaments for endorsement.
"We are pushing Tanzania to follow suit," he said, going on to say that South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo would also implement the agreement.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister said that his country has forged strategic cooperation frameworks with all neighboring nations except Eritrea.
Tensions between Addis Ababa and Asmara have persisted since a bloody two-year border war – in which tens of thousands were killed – ended in 2000.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ethiopian regime imposed Orthodox Church patriach delays Egypt visit - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

Trip to Cairo is postponed a second time, as an Egyptian bishop denies that the delay is due to political tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt over a Nile dam project


Ethiopian Orthodox Church Patriarch Abune Matthias (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Abune Matthias has postponed his visit to Cairo, planned to begin on Friday.

The anticipated visit was suddenly delayed, Egyptian Bishop Beyman, of the Diocese of Naqada and Qus, told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website. He said he received an email from the Ethiopian patriarch informing him of the delay during Easter celebrations.

Despite a previous delay of a visit last June, when tensions ran high between Egypt and Ethiopia due to the latter's Renaissance Dam project, Bishop Beyman denied that the postponement was related to politics.

The bishop told Al-Ahram that arrangements had been made to accommodate the patriarch, who was to meet Egypt's Pope Tawadros II.

The text of the email, published by Al-Ahram, cited "pressing church matters" as the reason for the delay

Friday, April 18, 2014

Nile dam study fails to stem tide of Egyptian indignation towards Ethiopia | Global development |

Nile dam study fails to stem the tide of Egyptian indignation towards Ethiopia

Claim and counter-claim has attended the delayed publication of a report on the likely impact of the Grand Renaissance dam
Sudanese villagers ride in their boat at the river Nile in Sudan's capital Khartoum

Villagers on the Nile in Khartoum. Ethiopia's Gerd dam may give Sudan greater water access than an agreement with Egypt allows. Photograph: Antony Njuguna/Reuters
The opening sentence of Egypt's new constitution describes the country as the river Nile's gift to Egyptians. It is a grand claim, but one that helps explain Egypt's indignation at the ongoing construction of a blockage on the Nile, thousands of miles upstream: the $4.7bn (£2.8bn) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (Gerd).
Egyptians have long maintained that Ethiopia's dam project will dangerously deplete its water stocks – about 95% of which are derived from the world's longest river. A year ago, a former Egyptian water official boldly claimed that the Gerd might deprive Egypt of up to 10bn kilolitres, devastating roughly a million acres of farmland along the shores of the Nile.
"Then you might cross the Nile on the back of a camel," the former head of Egypt's National Water Research Centre said at the time, in what were highly contested claims.
Egyptian politicians have used such claims to portray the dam as a threat to national security, and have occasionally made ambiguous statements about the possibility of military action. For their part, the Ethiopian government sees the Gerd as a crucial developmental goal – a 6,000 megawatt source of surplus electricity that they could sell to foreign countries to boost their economy.
Last month, the saga took a fresh twist after the leak of a highly anticipated and hitherto suppressed report into the long-term effects of what would be Africa's largest hydroelectric dam. Written by two water experts from each of the three main countries concerned – Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan – as well as international advisers, the report was seen as a much needed means of arbitration between the parties concerned.
But for nearly a year the report's contents were a mystery. After its submission last April, publication was suppressed at the request of one of the countries involved, enabling all concerned to make whatever claims they liked about its contents.
That should have changed at the end of March, when a leaked version(pdf) was finally published by the International Rivers Network (IRN), an independent group that campaigns against dams across the world. But rather than clarifying the dam's impact once and for all, the report has become the latest pawn in a war of words between Egypt and Ethiopia.
IRN said it showed that "big questions remain" and called for a halt to the dam's construction. But Ethiopian government spokesman Getachew Reda said the group was "absolutely biased", and "part of the smear campaign organised by Egypt". In the meantime, the dam's construction continues apace.
The report is nuanced and complex, and does not try to quantify exactly the likely downstream effect of the dam on Egypt's water supply. But its 48 pages nonetheless contain alarming findings. If the dam's reservoirs are filled during years of average or above-average rainfall, says the report, the hydroelectric capacity of Egypt's downstream Aswan High dam (Had) – which provides about 15% of Egypt's power – could face a temporary 6% decrease. But if filled during years of below-average rainfall, the Gerd may "significantly impact on water supply to Egypt and cause the loss of power generation at Had for extended periods".
Among other criticisms, the report warns that the dam's foundations may need further structural support to protect against sliding. It also says Ethiopia has done little to assess the Gerd's effect on local people, ecosystems and biodiversity. Based on these findings, the IRN concludes that the report "confirms Egypt's concerns that the project's impacts could be significant", and calls for construction to cease pending better analysis.
Not all independent analysts share this view, however. According to Dr Ana Cascão, a researcher at the Stockholm International Water Institutewhose doctoral thesis analysed hydropolitics in the Nile basin, Egypt fought for the report to be kept secret. Cascão argues the study is largely optimistic about the Gerd's impacts – "and that's why Egypt was not happy for it to be released". It is critical about the dam's social and environmental impact, she says, "but otherwise – in terms of dam safety and even in terms of water going downstream – the report is quite positive".
This is because the Gerd may eventually help to reduce the build-up of sediment in downstream dams like the Had, increasing capacity. The Gerd will also help to keep the Nile's flow – which presently fluctuates according to the amount of rainfall, potentially causing problems for downstream farmers even in Egypt – constant throughout the year. In terms of structural safety, Sudan – the country most endangered by any catastrophe at the Gerd – is satisfied with its construction.
Egypt's interests may actually be aligned with Ethiopia's, since Ethiopia will ultimately want to see as much water flow through the Gerd as possible in order to maximise hydroelectric power. It is, says Cascão, Sudan's intentions that may instead cause the greatest long-term concern for Egypt. The Gerd would allow Sudan to siphon off more downstream water for farm irrigation, potentially allowing the republic to take more water from the Nile than allowed by an agreement signed with Egypt in 1959.
Sudan has achieved this leverage by engaging positively with the dam's construction; Egypt's only means of reaching a grand compromise may be through similar engagement.
But it may now be too late. According to the Ethiopian government, an army of 8,500 builders, working 24 hours a day, has already completed about 30% of the 1,800 sq km site.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ethiopia slams anti-dam group's Water International as Egypt 'proxy campaign' | North Africa

File Photo©ReutersEthiopia has slammed a statement by a United States based group, International Rivers Network (IRN) that is campaigning against the construction of the country's biggest dam project in history saying it is fighting a proxy war for Egypt.

In a statement released on March 31 the group called for the construction of the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to stop immediately citing a number of reasons.
We have received not one dollar from individuals residing in Egypt in the past seven years - IRN
The report cited "a leaked report" of the International Panel of Experts or IPoE, which reviewed the impact of the 6000 MW hydroelectric dam.
The multibillion-dollar dam is 30 percent complete and Ethiopian officials are insisting that they would finish it on time, despite the efforts of international campaigners such as IRN to halt the project.
IRN is "subverting Ethiopia's efforts to develop its water resources and lift its vast and growing population out of poverty," Ethiopia's National Panel of Experts said.
"Again, the IRN never loses opportunity to lobby for its Egyptian paymasters.
"Not only does the IRN talk about the 'oversize' of GERD, but also about the Egyptians' negative emotions over GERD: anger and fear."
The panel said it was strongly dismissing the group's "anti-Ethiopia lobbying which is driven by an ideological, if not fanatical-messianic mission".
"We condemn IRN's unfair and biased support for Egypt in its disagreements with Ethiopia contrary to its own mission statement.
"We categorically reject IRN's advice to Ethiopia to accept its proposal and halt construction of GERD," the panel said in a statement posted on Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website over the weekend.
However, IRN has denied receiving any funding from Egypt in a letter emailed to The Africa Report.
"We have received not one dollar from individuals residing in Egypt in the past seven years" said IRN.
The Ethiopian government's Growth and Transformation Plan (2010-2015) emphasises accelerated industrialisation through the development of massive infrastructure projects, especially in energy.
The east African country has embarked on a multi-billion dollar energy sector development programme to become one of Africa's major exporters of electricity.
Other than the $9 billion hydro-electric energy programme, expected to supply neighbouring countries with electricity, Ethiopia has also seen heavy investments in geothermal, wind and other renewal energy infrastructural development projects.
This piece has been edited from its original version, to include comment from IRN

Read the original article on : Ethiopia slams anti-dam group's Egypt 'proxy campaign' | North Africa
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

A River Runs Through Us - YouTube

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Ethiopian panel slams environmentalist NGO’s report on dam project - Daily News Egypt

Ethiopian panel slams environmentalist NGO’s report on dam project

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Ethiopian GERD Panel of Experts calls International Rivers Network “paternalistic”, “fanatical” and “proxy for Egypt”
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TA study on the effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be completed in six months, but less than one year, and will be binding (AFP File Photo)
 The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
(AFP File Photo)
By Jake Lippincott
On Sunday the Grand Ethiopian Dam Project (GERD) Panel of Experts slammed a 31 March report issued by the International  Rivers Network (IRN), titled “GERD Panel of Experts Report: Big Questions Remain”.
The IRN piece was a response to a leaked GERD Panel of Experts report on the expected environmental consequences of Ethiopia’s massive hydroelectric dam project in the Blue Nile.
In the IRN report, the international environmental group accused the Ethiopian government of a lack of transparency regarding potential environmental consequences resulting from the dam project, specifically concerning Sudan and Egypt, which are downstream from Ethiopia and rely on the Nile for most of their water.
The Ethiopian government had previously issued a statement saying: “The Dam offers high benefit for all the three countries [Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt] and would not cause significant harm on both the lower riparian countries.”
However, IRN says that the leaked report “documents numerous problems with existing analysis and a lack of analysis on a number of critical issues. The panel recommends further investigation into the dam’s hydrological impacts, including on downstream countries’ water supplies and power generation, risks from climate change and geotechnical issues”.
In its report, the IRN suggested that “construction on the [GERD] project be halted” until a more comprehensive assessment is undertaken and “a process is in place for ensuring public accountability on the project” is instated. According to the IRN, several issues have been insufficiently investigated, including the structural viability of the dam, its general environmental effect and its effect on downstream water flow.
The concerns raised by the IRN have been echoed by successive Egyptian governments, which fear that the dam will threaten Egypt’s water supply. In a statement released on 31 March, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that while Egypt is seeking a “win-win” resolution regarding the disagreement, the dam project is illegal and “it is clear there is no room at all for concessions or allowances harming our interests because it is a subject of national security.”
In a response to the IRN report, titled “A proxy campaign against Ethiopia?” the GERD Panel of Experts refers to the IRN as a “self-appointed ‘guardian’ of all rivers of the world” and accuses it of “leaving no stone unturned in its effort to subvert Ethiopia’s efforts to develop its water resources and lift its vast and growing population out of poverty”.
The Panel of Experts goes on to say that “apart from being amused, the [panel] so far had chosen to ignore IRN’s anti-Ethiopia lobbying, which is driven by an ideological, if not fanatical-messianic mission… IRN is the high priest that communes with God the Almighty and determines what is the most environmentally appropriate… What paternalism!”
The GERD panel report also accuses the IRN of being “a proxy for Egypt masquerading as an international environmental group fighting for the health of rivers!” The panel also contends that while Egypt opposes the project, Ethiopia’s more immediate downstream neighbour Sudan identifies with and supports the dam project.
In a separate statement released on 11 April, Ethiopian Minister of Defence Siraj Fegessa said: “The ministry was fully prepared to protect the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD] from any possible attack, but said that he did not believe there would be any direct attack on the dam.”

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Omo River Dam will Dry Turkana Lake and bring Drought in Ethiopia and Kenya

Friday, April 11, 2014

Egyptian 'suspicions' behind Ethiopia dam crisis: Sudan FM

By Mohamed Taha Tawakel, Thursday, April 10, 2014
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.

The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
ADDIS ABABA – Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti said Egyptian "suspicions" regarding Ethiopia's multibillion-dollar hydroelectric Nile dam project had caused tensions between the two countries, asserting that dialogue remained the only means of resolving their differences.
"[Suspicions] have led to a kind of lack of confidence, especially on the Egyptian side," Karti told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
Ethiopia is currently building a $6.4-billion mega-dam on the Blue Nile, the waterway that represents Egypt's main source of water.
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share.
"The Egyptians have many questions about whether the dam will affect their water share," Karti said. "There are also technical questions about the dam itself."
The top diplomat said Sudan understood Egypt's concerns regarding the mega-dam project.
"The safety and efficiency of the dam is also our priority," he said.
Karti underlined the need for continuous dialogue between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia with a view to ironing out their differences.
"Dialogue is the ultimate solution to the differences that come to the surface every now and then," he said. "We strongly believe that all technical issues related to the dam should be put on the table for discussion."
Karti said Khartoum had repeatedly offered to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia, even during the era of former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in early 2011.
"They did not respond and did not take the matter seriously," he added.
"Egypt's rights are known. Ethiopia is also our neighbor and we want to make sure that its rights are safeguarded," said the Sudanese foreign minister.
"We want to ensure that all the countries that benefit from Blue Nile water will not be harmed," he added.
Citing its need for development, Ethiopia says it must build a series of dams to generate electricity both for local consumption and export.
When finished in 2017, the Grand Renaissance dam will have a 6000-megawatt production capacity, according to Ethiopian government sources.
Addis Ababa says the dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
-South Sudan-
The Sudanese foreign minister also called for a peaceful settlement to the conflict in neighboring South Sudan.
"The situation in South Sudan is a top priority," he told AA. "Sudan is exerting its utmost effort to restore peace and stability to South Sudan."
He lauded Sudan's relations with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir as "excellent."
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since last December, when Kiir accused his sacked vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting to overthrow his regime.
The conflict has already claimed more than 10,000 lives, with the U.N. estimating that around one million have been displaced by the violence.
Following weeks of peace talks in Addis Ababa sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East Africa trading bloc, the South Sudanese government and the rebels signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in January.
However, the two parties have yet to reach a comprehensive agreement to resolve the conflict.
The Sudanese foreign minister reiterated his support for IGAD's efforts to bring peace to South Sudan.
"We believe IGAD is acting neutrally. We fully support its efforts to resolve regional disputes and crises," Karti said.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency

EU not financing Ethiopia Renaissance Dam: EU ambassador in Egypt - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

EU ambassador underlines union's support for negotiated solutions in international disputes; says Egypt has requested presidential poll supervision
MENA, Wednesday 9 Apr 2014
ethiopia dam

A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014. Egypt fears the $4.7 billion dam, that the Horn of Africa nation is building on the Nile, will reduce a water supply vital for its 84 million people, who mostly live in the Nile valley and delta. Picture taken March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
The European Union (EU) is not funding the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, said EU Ambassador to Egypt James Moran in a press conference, the MENA state news agency reported.

Moran underlined that the EU is looking into the issue of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam since it affects many countries. He also said the EU is ready to help any country that seeks its assistance related to this issue.
Moran underscored the importance of negotiations between countries in dispute, in order to reach solutions that benefit all parties.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan formed a tripartite technical committee to study the possible effects of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. But the committee's discussions were thwarted in December when Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir announced his support for the dam during a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Egypt's foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, met last week with his Ethiopian counterpart, Tedros Adhanom, at the two-day EU-Africa Summit in Brussels.
According to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Fahmy said that his meeting with Adhanom included "a frank and open discussion" on the stance of both Egypt and Ethiopia regarding matters of concern to both states, including Nile water issue and Renaissance Dam.
Meanwhile, Moran said that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is expected to visit Egypt Wednesday to reaffirm the EU's interest in future cooperation and bilateral relations with Egypt.
He said the EU is keen to help Egypt, especially Upper Egypt that has been lately suffering instability amid general poverty.
Moran also spoke about the EU's supervision of the upcoming presidential elections, saying that Egyptian authorities requested the EU supervise the elections. The union has set a delegation upon this request.
He added that the EU did not supervise the referendum on the constitution that took place in January because the request to supervise it arrived late. 
Egypt's presidential poll is scheduled to take place in May.
About Britain's move to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood, Moran said that this concerns only Britain and not EU countries.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Egyptian President candidate Mortada Mansour Threatens War with Ethiopia, Qatar, and to Revoke Camp David Accords -

Mortada Mansour, "Ethiopia reducing Egypt’s share of Nile water, he would be willing to declare war against it"

jibouti (HAN) April 9, 2014 – Presidential hopeful Mansour ‘will declare war on Ethiopia,’ ban alcohol, social media. In a private TV interview, well known lawyer Mortada Mansour shared on Monday his views and plans about the future of Egypt, if he were to become its president. Hopeful presidential candidate Mortada Mansour said he will ban Facebook and Twitter if they threaten the nation’s internal security and declare war on Ethiopia should it maintain its stance on the Renaissance dam. Speaking to TV anchor Amr El-Leithy on the Bewodouh (With Clarity) news show on the privately-owned Al-Hayah TV channel on Monday, Mansour shared his views on protests in Egypt, US aid and the Muslim Brotherhood, among numerous other issues.
The outspoken, controversial lawyer who freely uses expletives against critics in public announced on Sunday his intent to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections, becoming the third candidate alongside former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and leftist political figure Hamdeen Sabahi.
He had also intended to contend for the post in the 2011 presidential race, but was disqualified for “unknown reasons,” as he claims.
Elected head of the Zamalek sports club for the third time on 28 March, Mansour has been a controversial figure in Egyptian society since the 1990s, notorious for his rather fiery public statements, as well as a resume replete with contentious lawsuits.
Mansour said during the Monday interview he would cut off US aid if he became president, in order for Egyptians to start working and producing, adding that the aid supports the Camp David peace treaty, which he believes is no longer applicable.
“Israel does not respect the treaty anymore. Weapons have been smuggled lately from Israel into the Egyptian border, which contradicts with articles in the agreement,” he said.
Mansour said he would ban alcohol retail shops in accordance with Islamic law limiting consumption to foreigners in hotels.
“We do not want people walking around drunk in the streets,” he told El-Leithy.
Speaking of the Brotherhood, Mansour said the government should refrain from the generalisation of labelling the entire group a terrorist one.
However, he also stressed that, should he be elected the country’s next president, he would firmly counter terrorism and all those sponsoring it in Egypt.
“There are two types of Brotherhood members: the first are not violent, not involved in political events and merely want to worship,” Mansour said, adding that those members recently involved in violent clashes belong to the second type, and should face legal investigation.
“I will suspend all protests, sit-ins and strikes for the upcoming year if I become Egypt’s next president, because the country’s economic situation cannot withstand any further deterioration,” he said, directing his speech to the Doctors’ Syndicate strike.
Doctors and other health professionals employed in government hospitals have been holding a partial, open-ended strike since last week, demanding higher wages and increased government spending on healthcare.
He then said he understood that different sectors have their particular demands, but proceeded to add that the country’s economy cannot currently afford to solve their problems.
About the Ethiopian dam under construction, Mansour said he would seek the help of international organisations to resolve the contentious issue. Should Ethiopia insist on building the dam, he added, reducing Egypt’s share of Nile water, he would be willing to declare war against it.
“Nile water is the source of life in Egypt and I will not allow anyone to diminish our share of it,” the lawyer stated.
The Renaissance Dam project has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government since last May, when images of the dam’s construction stirred public anxiety about its possible effects on Egypt’s share of Nile water.
Attempting to allay Egyptian fears that the dam will reduce its annual share of Nile water, the project manager stated the dam’s turbines do not consume water and that the dam’s reservoir will on the contrary provide more water to Egypt due to its projected role in decreasing evaporation levels. As the televised interview concluded, Mansour invited the two other candidates for a public debate.
Mansour was among several 21 figures from ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s era who were accused of orchestrating the Battle of the Camel, in which pro-Mubarak thugs rode camels and horses into Tahrir Square on 2 February, at the height of the 2011 revolution , and attacked protesters, killing 11 and injuring several hundred. The court acquitted all defendants in tthe case in 2013

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