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Egyptian Opposition and the President on the IPoE Report on the Nile Part I

June 3, 2013

Zerihun Abebe Yigzaw

The President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi meets with opposition leaders to discuss on the final report of the IPoE of the Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia. The IPoE which was established following Ethiopia`s initiation as part of brotherhood and good neighborhood to increase the benefits of the mega dam to the downstream states. Such decision of the Ethiopian government in fact shows how much the country is committed in accommodating the interest of its downstream neighbors. The IPoE on the renaissance dam has submitted its final report to the governments of three riparian states. So far Ethiopia and Egypt has issued statements in one way or another. The Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy in televised statement stressed that the final report of the IPoE has identified the benefits of the dam to all riparian states. The Report also declared that the dam will not significantly affect water flow downstream. It is recalled that the Report also recommended to do further research if there are other benefits to be identified or negative effects to be tackled. It should also be noted that the IPoE`s recommendation is on social and economic aspect of the dam not on the water flow.

Despite that is the fact the Egyptian presidency has remarked that the research and study done by Ethiopia is inadequate. This is however a play of words of taking what is recommended for if there are any problems or benefits statement as an indication of inadequacy. Egypt is concerned about water flow issues but according to the IPoE`s Report the Renaissance Dam will not significantly affect the water flow downstream.  Hence, the President`s remark is uninformed or is with other undisclosed intention.

Be that as it may the Egyptian presidency called political figures and opposition parties to discuss on the matter. Today on June 3, 2013 some opposition parties were gathered in the country`s palace. This blog has learned from Ahram Online that Hamdeen Sabbahi who previously remarked of using the Suez Canal to stop Ethiopia from constructing the dam was not attending. Ex-International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei’s Constitution Party also announced not to take part in the discussion. The Free Egyptian Party which announced also not to attend the gathering further in a statement “went on to slam the timing of the meeting as an attempt to distract Egyptians from crucial domestic issues, citing a planned protest by judges on Monday as well as a Sunday court ruling against the constitutionality of the upper house of parliament and the constitution-drafting committee.” Ex-Arab League secretary and once Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Amr Moussa also do not attend the meeting but “would instead send a memo to the president on the issue.” On the other hand, Egypt Freedom Party, Al-Wafd party and the Popular Socialist Alliance are those who attend the meeting with the president. It is time to the Government of Mohamed Morsi and Hisham Qandil to look into the current and long-term water interest of their country which can best be achieved through cooperation and mutual trust with upstream states. The construction of the GERD by no means is a threat to Egypt or Sudan except increasing benefits for all the riparian states sharing Abbay-the Nile.

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