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.
Available at: http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46770