World Bulletin / News Desk
An Ethiopian official said on Tuesday that Egypt had called for the resumption in mid-July of tripartite talks – to also include Sudan – to discuss Ethiopia's ongoing construction of a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam on the upper reaches of the Nile.
"The Ethiopian government is looking into the Egyptian proposal and will soon send its reply," Fekahmed Negash, director of boundary and trans-boundary river affairs at Ethiopia's Water Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the Egyptian proposal had been included in a letter sent to both Addis Ababa and Khartoum, in which Cairo had offered to host the tripartite talks in the second week of July.
"We know the proposal is being examined by Khartoum as well," he said.
An Egyptian official has confirmed the request for the resumption of the tripartite talks in mid-July.
"The Egyptian side has already invited Ethiopia to resume the tripartite talks in Cairo in mid-July," spokesman of the Egyptian Irrigation Ministry Khaled Wassif told AA.
According to Wassif, the Sudanese side has agreed on the resumption of the tripartite talks.
Ethiopia's controversial dam project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which fears a reduction of its traditional share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile Basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era agreement granting Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of the river's water.
Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit the two downstream states, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.
A tripartite committee of experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan was drawn up in 2011 and tasked with assessing the dam's possible environmental, economic and social impact on the latter two countries.
The committee, which includes water experts from the three countries as well as international experts, has called for further study of safety-related issues and the project's potential impact on downstream states.
The committee's activities came to a standstill in January due to differences between Ethiopia and Egypt, the latter of which fears that the $6.4-billion dam will adversely impact its traditional share of Nile water.Last Mod: 02 Temmuz 2014, 09:57