Ethiopia’s Embassy in Cairo Attacked

News reports from Cairo reported that the Ethiopian embassy is attacked by a few Egyptians who are opposing Ethiopia’s mega dam project. According to Ahram online, the protesters were chanting saying, “we are the source of the Nile.” What is amazing still is Egypt rich in water engineers and hydrologists are  not yet understand what does it mean by diverting water  by a few meters to undertake the construction of the dam means. The course of the Nile is sidetracked by 30 meters which then continues its journey through its natural course as before after a few meters. This river is diverted to nowhere. If they are generally opposing the construction of the dam that is another issue. If they are still chanting on the diversion issue it is laughable.

Ahram Online has reported the following


Dozens protest Blue Nile dam move outside Ethiopia’s Cairo embassy

Limited demonstration erupts outside Ethiopian embassy in Cairo as activists protest perceived infringement on Egypt’s traditional share of Nile water

 Ahram Online , Friday 31 May 2013

Dozens of Egyptian protesters gathered outside the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo on Friday to protest Addis Ababa’s decision earlier this week to temporarily divert the course of the Blue Nile as part of a project to build a series of dams on the river.

Protesters held banners aloft reading, “We reject attempts to take our Nile Water.” Others chanted: “We are the source of the Nile Basin.”

“After Ethiopia’s surprising decision, bilateral relations have now been put to the test,” according to a statement by the ‘Copts without Borders’ group, one of the protests’ main organizers.

The statement added: “Any agreement between President Mohamed Morsi’s government and its Ethiopian counterpart will not be recognized, since Morsi has lost all legitimacy before the Egyptian people.”

The statement went on to call on Egyptians to take part in a planned anti-Mors rally on 30 June to call for snap presidential elections.

Other participants at Friday’s protest included members of the ‘Lawyers Union for the Nile Basin’ and the ‘Egyptians against Injustice’ movement.

Within the context of a plan to build a series of new dams for electricity production, Ethiopia on Tuesday began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two main tributaries. Most Nile water that reaches Egypt and Sudan originates from the Blue Nile.

Ethiopia’s ‘Renaissance Dam’ project – one of four planned hydro-electric power projects – has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government, amid ongoing sensitivities regarding the project’s possible effects on Egypt’s traditional share of Nile water.

According to the state-run National Planning Institute, Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050 – on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres – to meet the needs of a projected population of some 150 million.

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On the other hand Aswat Masriya also reported that the protesters were trying to burn the Ethiopian flag. According to the website the limited protesters were calling for expelling Ethiopia`s Ambassador in Egypt, Ambassador Mohamed Drrir.

The following is its full report

Scores protest at Ethiopia embassy to demand expelling ambassador

Scores of demonstrators staged a protest on Friday at the Ethiopian embassy headquarters in Cairo to demand expelling the Ethiopian ambassador to Egypt and call for halting the Renaissance Dam project, al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reported.

Ethiopia has begun implementing a project to build a $4.7 billion dam. The project entails diverting the Blue Nile which may affect downstream countries.

The demonstrators chanted slogans condemning Ethiopia’s policies and lifted banners attacking the dam building process.

The embassy prevented the protesters from burning the Ethiopian flag after one demonstrator attempted to down the flag.

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According to Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 the host state must protect the diplomatic mission from any kind of intrusion and damage. Customary international law also obliged the host state to protect the diplomatic personnel and its mission. The host country must provide security as the diplomatic community is the sole representative of the sending state in the host country. Any attack on against the diplomatic staff, the embassy compound and its properties is tantamount attacking the state. Thus, Egypt as a signatory state to the convention must protect the Ethiopian mission from any kind of intrusion and damage what so ever. must summon and ask clarifications on the issue from the Egyptian ambassador in Ethiopia.


Dam on Nile is source of cooperation

Ethiopia has been building electric generating dams following the science in responsible manner, and has a firm belief in win-win cooperation; this is what Bereke Simon, Minister of Government Communication Affairs, has to tell Aljazeera in an interview the Qatar Tv held a day before.

The Tv interview program seems to believe the dam hurts the interest of Egypt and asks Bereket what impact the river diversion process has on the downstream countries. Bereket said the river Nile shouldn’t be a divisive issue and shouldn’t be held prey to old colonial agreement that feeds zero-sum-game politics. Ethiopia is doing its best to turn the Nile into a resource that calls for rather matured cooperation among riparian countries, he noted.

He added river diversion is a normal process in hydro-electric dam construction. There is nothing different happening with the diversion of Abay river done to make way for the construction of the Renaissance Dam. He explained what happens is the river is taken off its natural course for some meters just to take back its natural course after a while without any loss on the volume of the water.

Bereket declines to accept the presumption that says the region goes to conflict due to water resources. He said I don’t think this happens in this region as the leaders clearly understand what is going on with the construction of the dam.

Others who take part in the interview on the Aljazeera English News Channel say the water resource is a resource for cooperation not a cause for conflict. They reminded the interviewer the reiteration of the late Meles Zenawi that the dam is a new beginning for cooperation in the region though Ethiopia covers the cost of the dam while it apparently sees it is useful for the region at large.

The Renaissance Dam has the capacity to generate 6000 MW when it begins to generate electric power with its full potential. The dam has the capacity to save 7 billion cubic meters of water that could be wasted. The dam helps to better regulate the water resource than it lessens the water flow to Egypt.


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Mihret: diversion doesn’t affect water flow of Nile

Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) says the river diversion of Abay/Nile in Ethiopia to make way for construction of the dam in the river bed doesn’t in any way reduce the amount of water flowing to Egypt.

Chief Executive Officer of the national electric utility Mihret Debebe explained those who claim the diversion has negative effect on the water flow of the river into downstream countries don’t have any scientific bases to prove their claim.

The flow of water in the River Abay is around 60 billion cubic meter and the diversion has no effect on this normal flow. Similar such river diversions on other rivers during hydroelectric dam construction don’t cause any such effect, the CEO added.

Those who claim the recent diversion on the river Abay has affected the flow of water to downstream countries do have their agenda to fix than telling what is really happening in the process.

He assured the downstream countries will not be affected even when the construction is over and the dam begins to fill water. Everything is going to take place responsibly unlike the baseless allegations that it hurts.

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Sudan downplays negative impact of Ethiopian dam project

THURSDAY May 30, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has declared that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) does not pose a threat to Sudan, disclosing existence of consultations and understandings among Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on the project.

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Planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project (file/AP)

Sudan’s foreign ministry denied statements attributed to the Sudanese ambassador in Cairo, Kamal Hassan Ali, in which he expressed Sudan’s rejection of the dam’s construction.

The foreign ministry spokesperson, Abu Bakr Al-Siddig, said on Wednesday that Sudan’s ambassador to Cairo didn’t describe the Ethiopian move to change the course of the river Nile as “shocking”, denying reports that Sudan and Egypt would resort to the Arab League.

Al-Siddig added that Sudan’s ministry of water resources and electricity has affirmed that the Ethiopian move doesn’t impose any threat to Sudan, asserting that Sudan is committed to cooperate with Ethiopia and Egypt on issues of the river Nile’s water to serve the common interests of the three countries.

Sudan’s embassy in Cairo, for its part, denied the statements attributed to ambassador by a correspondent of the Anadolu Agency, adding that they were made on May 23 which is prior to the Ethiopian decision to change the course of the river.

The embassy further said that Ambassador Ali focused in his statements on the permanent and continuous coordination between Sudan and Egypt over all water issues, and relations between the two countries and the Nile Basin countries.

In April 2011 Ethiopia launched construction of the $4.8 billion dam on the Blue Nile, at about 40 km east of Sudan in the Benishangul-Gumuz region.

On Tuesday, Ethiopia began changing the course of the river Nile. According to a Ethiopian government official the diversion would only cover “a few meters” after which the river will continue flowing on its natural course.

The chief executive officer of the state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, Mihret Debebe, explained that the “dam is being built in the middle of the river; hence construction work can’t be carried out while the river is flowing”.

The Ethiopian official further said that changing the course of the river “would allow us carry out civil engineering works without difficulty”.

The construction of the dam project on the Blue Nile led to outcry from the downstream countries of Sudan and Egypt; which had control over most of the water resources using a treaty signed during colonial era.

Some Egyptian news media have responded negatively to the Renaissance Dam and demanded sacking the minister of irrigation.

The head of the program on Sudan and Nile basin at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) said the approval of the minister of irrigation for the construction of the dam reflects submission and negligence as well as ignorance of the strategic repercussions of the dam, calling for dismissal of the minister.

Egypt and Sudan had previously argued that the construction of the dam would negatively affect their water shares and insisted the project should be blocked, calling on international donors against funding it.

However Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir announced his support to the project in March 2012, saying his government understands the mutual benefits the project could offer Ethiopia and Sudan.

Last Saturday, Egyptian minister of irrigation, Mohamed Baha Eddin, said his country is not opposed to the Ethiopian dam project as it does not impair Egypt’s interests.

He told reporters that the Ethiopian prime minister emphasised his country’s eagerness to prioritise Egypt’s interests above their own.

Ethiopia on 28 May held in Guba area in Benishangul-Gumuz state a ceremony to celebrate the successful diversion of the start of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Speaking at the event, president of the GERD construction council and deputy prime minister Demeke Mekonnin said the diversion of the river has been successfully done to utilise the resource for the interest of Ethiopia and the neighbouring countries.

Ethiopia’s water and energy minister, Alemayehu Tegenu, also made some statements in the same direction stressing that the construction of the dam is being carried out in such a way that it maintains the mutual benefit of the Nile basin countries.

He underscored that the dam would enhance cooperation and economic integration and would not do any damage to the lower riparian countries.





Emnet Assefa

Nile with flag diversionThe government in Ethiopia on Tuesday May 20thdiverted the flow of the Nile River for the construction of controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to state media.

The diversion was made at the site of the dam in Benishangul Gumuz State in the presence of senior government officials including deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Demeke Mekonnin who said, “diversion of the river had been successfully done to utilise the resource for national interest,” according to ENA, state run media.

The construction of the Dam which was announced two years ago by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi remains controversial between Ethiopia and downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

Media reports quoted Egypt’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idriss, as saying that Egypt knew about the diversion but the unilateral announcement was premature. The Ambassador’s remarks came days before International Panel of Experts drawn from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as well as Europe releases its long-awaited study on the impact of the dam.

The three countries agreed to form the panel of experts to assess the impact of the giant hydroelectric power dam on the downstream countries mainly Sudan and Egypt.

“The Nile for us is not just a river.  It is the only source of life in Egypt.  So any impact on the water reaching Egypt is going to affect Egyptian water security and the life of the Egyptian people and this is of great concern,” Ambassador Idriss was quoted as saying.

However, Ethiopian government officials have gone to great lengths to assure downstream countries that neither the construction of the dam, nor the diversion of the water flow will have any impact on the level of the water that flows down to other riparian countries.

The GERD, the biggest hydro-electric power dam in Africa, is a state run project with a cost of 5 Billion USD and is expected to have a capacity to generate 6000mwt electric power to the country with 74 Billion cubic meter of water storage capacity. Ethiopia aims to export power to its neighboring countries at the completion of the dam in 2017.

Photo: FBC

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Egypt Water and Irrigation Minister: Renaissance Dam “no surprise”

  /   May 31, 2013  /   

The presidency continues to cautiously follow Ethiopian dam developments

President Morsi holds meeting with ministers to discuss action plan with regards to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Presidency handout photo)

President Morsi holds meeting with ministers to discuss action plan with regards to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Presidency handout photo)

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Bahaa Al-Din has dismissed accusations placing the blame on Prime Minister Hisham Qandil’s cabinet in the crisis surrounding the diversion of Nile water as part of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam project.

“This was not a surprise,” said Bahaa Al-Din regarding recent Nile water developments. “They have been working on the dam for a year and a half.”

During a Thursday evening interview on CBC satellite channel, the minister said that while construction on the dam began at a time when Egypt was still dealing with many internal post-revolution issues, the government had been following the developments in Ethiopia, pointing out that former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had received former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in Cairo.

Sharaf also travelled to Uganda and Ethiopia to discuss Nile basin developments in May 2011. Bahaa Al-Din went on to say Egypt had agreed on the construction of the Renaissance Dam under Sharaf’s tenure.

The minister acknowledged that Egypt was facing a water crisis, and said that if the newly constructed dam was not in the best interest of all Nile basin that a political solution would be necessary, expressing his “cautious optimism”.

Bahaa Al-Din’s comments came after he met with President Mohamed Morsi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr, Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Minister of the Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, and General Intelligence Service Director Major General Raafat Shehata to discuss a plan of action.

“The issue of water security is crucial,” said the presidency in a statement following the meeting.

“Egypt, in a time when it does not accept the harming of its interests or any project that would threaten these interests, is not opposed to development in Ethiopia or any other African country,” read Thursday’s statement.

The presidency reiterated that Morsi had been assured at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa that the dam would not harm Egypt’s water resources, emphasising that the Nile was a source of cooperation and common development.

Ethiopia dispels regional concerns over dam construction

Sudan Tribune

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

May 30, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – As nation pushes forward the construction of a controversial dam project, the Ethiopian government on Thursday affirmed that the power plant being built at the Nile River won’t affect relations with Nile basin countries particularly with Sudan and Egypt.

In a ceremony held on Tuesday, Ethiopia began diverting the flow of the Blue Nile River as part of the first phase construction work of the massive power plant project which is underway in Benshangul Gumuz region near the Sudanese border.

The launch of the dam project known as the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, raised some concerns in downstream countries, particularly Egypt, fearing that it would reduce the flow of water to its territories.

Sudan, despite its solidarity with Egypt over Nile water issues, approved the project and denied statements attributed to its ambassador in Cairo.

However, Ethiopia ministry of foreign affairs spokes person, Ambassador Dina Mufti, on Thursday dispelled concerns that the project could affect Ethiopia’s all-rounded relations with Sudan and Egypt..

“Ethiopia has a clear and firm position on Nile issues. We have no intention to harm the peoples of Sudan or Egypt”, Dina told Sudan Tribune.

Addis Ababa insists that the construction of the dam project won’t affect the supply of water to Egypt and Sudan instead will benefit the countries from the supply of hydroelectricity.

“Nile is not a source of confrontation” he said adding “it is a source of development and cooperation among the Nile basin countries”, Dina further stressed.

According to Engineers working at the site The Nile River was diverted by only few meters and then will continue its flow on its natural course.


Egyptian politicians seem to have divided over the Nile dam project at this step.

After Ethiopia announced that it carried out the diversion work, Egyptian opposition politicians have reportedly heighten concerns.

Opposition politicians accused President Mohammed Morsi’s government of giving little attention to the Nile waters.

The Egypt’s presidency however has preferred to wait for a report from the tripartite technical committee which is assessing the potential impacts of the dam on downstream countries.

Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs, Ali Hifni, said that diverting the course of the river was not a major concern but the overall impact of the dam it will cause up on completion.

With regard to reports by news outlets the Ethiopian senior official told Sudan Tribune that “No one should be confused or reach to conclusion from news reports released in Sudan, Egypt or elsewhere”

Dina further said the findings of the tripartite technical committee will be released on Friday.

The committee is comprised of Ethiopian, Sudanese, Egyptian as well as four prominent international experts.


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