Sunday, February 09, 2014

Battle of the Nile: Egypt, Ethiopia clash over mega-dam

(Feb 09, 2014, ((KHARTOUM, Sudan))--Egypt and Ethiopia remain at loggerheads over Addis Ababa's plan to build a $4.2 billion, 6,000-megawatt dam on a major tributary of the Nile River that Cairo says will greatly reduce the flow of water that is Egypt's lifeline.

Tension between the two African states rose sharply in January after Ethiopia rejected Egypt's demand it suspend construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the 4,130-mile river, the world's longest.

Egypt has vowed to protect its "historical rights" to the Nile "at any cost" and says it could lose 20 percent of its water if the giant dam in northwestern Ethiopia, one of several hydroelectric projects planned by Addis Ababa, is completed. "It would be a disaster for Egypt," Mohamed Nasr Allam, a former Egyptian water minister, lamented to the Guardian daily of London in 2013.

"Large areas of the country will simply be taken out of production." Despite Cairo's tough declarations, and Addis Ababa's insistence on pressing ahead with the massive dam -- which it denies will damage Egypt to any critical extent -- there's little likelihood of the two states going to war, if only because the vast distance that separates them. Read more from UPI »

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