Friday, May 31, 2013

Egyptians up in arms as Ethiopia builds giant hydro dam on Nile River; minister rules out war

(May 31,  2013,(The Washington Post), (CAIRO)))--Ethiopia’s construction of Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam on the world’s longest river threatens to affect flows of water to Nile-dependent, water-starved Egypt, where there is growing outrage, anger and fear.

Egypt in the past has threatened to go to war over its “historic rights” to Nile River water but diplomats from both countries this week played down the potential for conflict.  “A military solution for the Nile River crisis is ruled out,” Egypt’s irrigation and water resources minister, Mohammed Baheddin, said Thursday amid newspaper reports recalling the threats of war from Egypt’s two previous leaders, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.

Ethiopia on Tuesday started diverting the flow of the Blue Nile for construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Eighty-five percent of Nile waters originate in Ethiopia yet the East African nation whose name has become synonymous with famine thus far utilizes very little of those waters.

Ethiopia’s decision challenges a colonial-era agreement that had given downstream Egypt and Sudan rights to the Nile water, with Egypt taking 55.5 billion cubic meters and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic meters of 84 billion cubic meters, with 10 billion lost to evaporation.

That agreement, first signed in 1929, took no account of the eight other nations along the 6,700-kilometer (4,160-mile) river and its basin, which have been agitating for a decade for a more equitable accord. And Ethiopia’s unilateral action seems to ignore the 10-nation Nile Basin Initiative to promote cooperation. Read more from  The Washington Post »

Related topics:
Dozens protest Blue Nile dam move outside Ethiopia's Cairo embassy  
Egypt summons Ethiopian ambassador over Blue Nile move
Ethiopia starts diverting Blue Nile course on Tuesday
Egypt not opposed to Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam
Ethiopian dam on Nile worries neighbors  
Ethiopia calls for diplomatic solution for equitable use of Nile water   

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