Sunday, April 13, 2014

Egyptian 'suspicions' behind Ethiopia dam crisis: Sudan FM

(Apr 13, 2014, (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. Read more from Borglobe »

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