Nader Fails to See Reason Over Ethiopia`s Claim on the River Nile

Zerihun Abebe Yigzaw

Since 2010 the Nile is a front page of weekly or daily newspapers and online news sources. This is due to the developments that the Nile Basin has been experiencing following the signing of the Cooperative Framework of the Nile (CFA) in Entebbe-Uganda on 14 May 2010 which declares the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile waters for all riparian states as the corner stone of the New Nile Basin. This was welcomed by upstream states yet objected by Egypt followed by Sudan despite these states were part of the ten years plus negotiation (1997-2010). A year after such development though a new departure in the history of the Nile Basin happened following the commencement of the construction of a mega hydraulic infrastructure called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Once again the Nile becomes a day to day story of both the print and the broadcast media. The main reasons for such developments are the following. Firstly, Ethiopia is building this huge infrastructure by its own finance despite the scale of the dam needs external finance which would be unthinkable for a poor country like Ethiopia. Secondly, the dam is under construction in a transboundary watercourse where there has never been a multilateral treaty or customary law that governs the utilization and the management of the water shared but showed a one state show which is reversed by the signing of the above mentioned treaty-CFA. Thirdly, it is due to the acute opposition from the most downstream state in the Nile-Egypt claiming that the dam will affect water flow downstream and many other constructed and reconstructed reasons. On the other side also, the joy and the hope regarding the dam from the Ethiopian and also from the Sudanese side is another important factor. Nonetheless, all the news, all the articles, all the pieces are not as balanced as they have to be. An assessment of the articles from downstream signals that there are gaps to fill, confusions to clear and it necessitates to clean the misunderstandings and misperceptions about Ethiopia`s claim of the Nile waters and its intension of constructing the GERD. This author has tried to answer to some of the news and opinion articles from Egypt regarding the GERD and the CFA in previous times. Recently a new confused and confusing personal opinion by Nader Noureddine on the Al Ahram Weekly of Egypt entitled Tough Talk: Ethiopia fails to see reason over the River Nile-” is published with a destructive impact on the truth about the Nile issue in general and the GERD in particular.

Nader and His Piece: What He really misses?

Nader Nour Eddin 1The writer tried to portray that Ethiopia has no any reason for its claims on the Nile and in its construction of the GERD. Despite the writer is a professor of water resources and soil from Cairo University his piece lacks intellectual test and just focused on politicization of the science as what the self-claimed Group of the Nile did a few months ago. In fact, he is one of the members of the group and one can guess where the politicization of the issue comes from. Despite the fact that Egypt should ask Ethiopia an apology for a number of reasons Nader reversed the request to come from Ethiopia-which is nonsensical and unscrupulous. Be that as it may, Nader as a professional could work towards bringing the riparian states together to build confidence and enhance trust despite he goes against it. As member of the epistemic community using science to create epistemic consensus-which indeed has tremendous effect on decision making and influence public opinion, should be the objective so as to enhance peace and achieve sustainable development and prosperity among peoples in the Nile Basin-whose bone and flesh is made of the Nile. Now is time for Nader and people with the same stance with him to reexamine their position as to what they hold is nothing other than vicious and unconstructive. In this article I show how and why the writer-Nader Noureddine fails to see reason over Ethiopia`s claim on the Nile in general and the GERD in particular. As a response this piece is also an attempt to clear the confusion, blurredly perceived and misunderstood Nile claim of Ethiopia and the GERD by the Egyptian elite and their victim-the misinformed general public of Egypt.


Nader cited the fact that Ethiopia`s surface water is estimated to be 122 billion cubic meters. No wrong is said here. Despite such a fact, it is only one river-Awash which remains in the country. Almost all except Awash are transboundary watercourses. Numbers tell us that it is only 3 percent of the mentioned 122 billion cubic meters (only 3.67 billion cubic meters) which remains in the country. The rest flows to neighboring countries to Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Egypt through Genale-Dawa-Wabishebele, Gibe-Omo and the Blue Nile (including Abbay, Baro-Akobo and Tekeze rivers) respectively. The Nile Basin alone covers more than 70 percent of Ethiopia`s surface water resource which is not yet touched. I hope Dr. Nader now get the real information regarding the 14 rivers he wrote about. Dr. Nader and others most of the time run to talk about the erratic rainfall in Ethiopia which is neither sustainable nor sufficient to meet the demand of the fast growing population unless dammed or harvested through the rivers which would otherwise left the country during the short lived rainy season as flood. Global warming and related climatic problems are adding problems to this. But let me ask Dr. Nader and his likes that why are Egyptian scholars afraid to talk about ground water which makes Egypt the most watery country on earth with countries such as Libya and Sudan? For readers information Egypt`s untouched ground water is estimated to be 150, 000 billion cubic meters with a maximum groundwater table up to maximum 1500 meters which in the contemporary technological advancement is easy to utilize in a huge amount.


Dr. Nader wrote about a very interesting issue regarding the Sinai and the Toshka projects which are costly, environmentally unfriendly and legally unacceptable projects from the international law perspective. No state can take a transboundary watercourse outside its natural course for any purpose. But Egypt did that to Sinai through the Al Salam Canal and to Toshka through the huge water pump from Lake Nasser named after ousted president Mubarak which feeds a spillway to the western desert of Egypt. Dr. Nader tried to deceive readers claiming that Sinai was part of the Nile centuries back. Let me ask Dr. Nader how many centuries before was Sinai part of the Nile? The silt deposit he talked about is a fabricated data to deceive the whole world and is a jam-packed politicization of science. Historically at least in the Holly Bible we had no such evidence which we would have if Sinai was part of the Nile at least before 4000 years during the Exodus of the Israelites that they would not be thirsty and God through St. Michael would not rock the rock to quench their thirst. Alas, the Dr. tried to add Toshka as if it was also part of the Nile-another white lie. The two projects-Sinai and Toshka were aimed at controlling every drop of the Nile and to impede upstream states from utilizing the Nile waters by creating facts on the ground and are criticized as the ‘Pharaohnic Monuments of Mubarak’ by both logical Egyptians and non-Egyptian professionals. The truth in general is that there is no any historical as well as scientific evidence to justify that both Sinai and Toshka were part of the Nile Basin system.


Nader also asked about the necessity of increasing the size of the dam and its capacity of storing 74 billion m3 of water in the reservoir that will be created by the GERD. This question was asked by the Group of the Nile of Cairo University where he is a member and answers were given by then. I need to say two things, though. First the 14 billion m3 what Nader talked about is what people like Nader in Cairo needed it to be not Ethiopia needs it. Secondly, the construction of this mega hydraulic infrastructure is also to increase its capacity of generating huge amount of hydroelectricity which would be limited to not more than 2400MW of electricity which is not enough taking Ethiopia`s development objectives and growing demand for energy. For readers` information Ethiopia`s demand for energy is increasing by 32% each year which is difficult to meet unless the country embarks on huge hydraulic infrastructures such as the GERD, Omo III,  and the foreseen Omo IV and V, Mabil, Kara Dobi, Beko Abo and Mendaia projects.


Another concern of Dr. Nader seems the problem of siltation that the GERD would face. Is Dr. Nader showing his circumspection for Ethiopia that it would lose the dam because of huge sedimentation and siltation? Building such expensive mega structure needs care and it must indeed be sustainable and durable. In order to maintain its health environmental conservation must be undertaken by all concerned stakeholders at all levels especially in the upper stream. Thit is one most important reason that the other four (Mabil, Kara Dobi, Beko Abo and Mendaia) dams on the Blue Nile are on the pipeline as they also precipitate the need for environmental conservation and taking serious measures of watershed management which will enhance the health of the environment, avoid erosion and sedimentation and increasing the quality and quantity of water not only for Ethiopia but also for Sudan and Egypt.


Nader seems to blame Ethiopia regarding studying the environmental impact of the dam on downstream countries. It should be clear for readers that Egypt had denied some information that would be added as an input during the study process that Ethiopia conducted. But what is denied did not preclude Ethiopia from going ahead in the process. Besides it is clear that the International Panel of Experts (IPoE) that comprises two experts each from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and one each from UK, France, Germany and Republic South Africa was established due to Ethiopia`s request and Ethiopia has accepted what the Panel of Experts said and has been working for its implementation. Ethiopia was confident enough about the outcome of the report of the IPoE and that is what indeed come about.  Is not it Egypt which tried to undermine the report of the Panel of Experts by trying to bring a new unnecessary proposal in Khartoum on November? For Egypt it would be nice if lessons learned from Sudan and its position regarding the GERD.


Another concern of Dr. Nader Noureddine is what he and the group that he belongs to from Cairo University repeatedly asked: “What if the dam collapsed?” Let me ask: Why is the dam would collapse? For a huge dam like GERD to be collapsed there should be some fundamental problems and reasons both either manmade or natural. Let us consider the natural problems that would led for a dam to collapse. Endogenic forces such as earthquake and volcanic movements would be reasons. Nonetheless, when we look at Guba-where the dam is under construction in Benshangul Gumuz near Sudanese border, such forces are not threats as scientifically collected and analyzed data proves. Let us also consider manmade factors if any. For a dam to collapse due to manmade problems is when either there is a problem in the design and construction or due to other problems such as deliberate destruction. Let us consider the first and we can find that the International Panel of Experts has unambiguously declared that the dam is based on international standards. Secondly the deliberate destruction could be any kind of bombardment or sabotage from enemies which is unthinkable taking the consequences and as each and every Ethiopian are the watchdogs of this mega national pride. And do not forget the made in Ethiopia drones, and the flag carrier armed forces which are always on alert watching who is flying and moving over the skies of Guba.


Nader tried to defend that Egypt had never been a security threat to Ethiopia. Ethiopia has well registered the scars of the Nile politics which have been manifested in civil wars, inter-states wars in the Horn of Africa as proxy wars sponsored by Egypt and the bloodless wars being fought in the international financial institutions and donor agencies which have been denying loans to Ethiopia due to objections from the watchdogs of Egypt. There are four reasons why Egypt should apologize Ethiopia regarding the Nile. Firstly, for the unnecessary and destructive interventions in civil wars and proxy wars that it betrothed against Ethiopia; secondly for its relentless efforts of objecting Ethiopia`s access to finance from international financial institutions; thirdly for using the Nile lavishly and its construction of the unnecessary Aswan High Dam in an open dessert from where more than 10 billion cubic meters of the Nile waters evaporates; and fourthly for the infamous drama at the presidential palace in Cairo where the ousted president Morsi and opposition leaders ridiculed in a live televised discussion which exposes what the elite in Egypt thinks.

A Message to the People of Egypt

As reasoned out above Ethiopia`s water resource is more or less confined on the Ethiopian part of the Nile Basin which accounts more than 70 percent of its total surface water. At the same time it is this area which have been plagued by drought and famine and made headlines of portraying Ethiopia as a land of the ‘green famine.’ Hence utilizing the waters of the Nile to meet development needs in accordance with internationally accepted principles in a way that also protects the needs of its neighbors is its only solution. Ethiopia and Ethiopians believe that as a people of the Nile the bones and flesh of all peoples in the Nile Basin is made up of the mighty Nile. This shows us that we are one. That is why Ethiopia sings the song of peace and development which is based on mutual benefit. That is why Ethiopia has been singing the song of ‘One River, One Nile, One People’ (Nehar wahid, Al nil wahid, sheab wahid). Hence what is important is to develop trust and confidence which will enhance peace, togetherness, and brotherhood which is the only way out of any problem. In this regard, the role of the epistemic community as professionals in providing researched inputs to the general public and governments has effects. It is only when professionals engage honestly and being loyal to the truth that peace can be achieved. The Nile was there and will always be as a belt that binds all the riparian states and its people, what is important is cherishing its fruits mutually and for a common peace and development agenda for a brighter future.


Egypt, Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministers cancel news conference

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia met in Addis Ababa on Monday in hopes of defusing tensions over a huge dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River
  The foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia met in Addis Ababa on Monday in hopes of defusing tensions over a huge dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River. But in a possible sign that the talks are not sailing smoothly, the two ministers cancelled a scheduled news conference Monday morning.

 “I cannot anticipate the outcome of the meeting . but our wish is that they would understand that the construction of the dam is not going to harm them in any way. We have always sought a win-win cooperation and relationship with Egypt,” Dina told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Egypt and Ethiopia began a sharp exchange of words after Ethiopia last month started to divert Nile waters as part of the construction of its massive $4.2 billion hydro-electric project dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt fears the dam will mean a diminished share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation’s water needs.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr arrived in Addis Ababa on Sunday, where he is meeting counterpart Tedros Adhanom.

Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, said Ethiopia wants Egypt to understand that the dam is not going to harm Egypt.

Relations between the nations have quickly grown tense over the last two weeks.

In a televised meeting June 3, Egyptian politicians suggested attacks against Ethiopia to sabotage the dam. A week later, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi warned that “all options are open” to challenge Ethiopia’s Nile project.

In response, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn vowed “nothing” and “no one” will stop the dam’s construction.

Then, last Thursday, Ethiopia’s parliament unanimously ratified a new accord that replaces colonial-era deals that awarded Egypt veto powers over Nile projects.

The tensions are causing international concern. The head of the African Union urged dialogue and cooperation and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon telephoned both Morsi and Hailemariam.

Ethiopia downplays the prospect of military confrontation with Egypt. The president said Egypt would not attack unless its leaders “go mad.” Ethiopia insists it “will not bow to pressure” by delaying the construction of the dam.

The Renaissance Dam has been under construction for two years on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region near Sudan.

Currently more than 22 percent complete, the dam is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts, which will make it Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant. The dam is expected to have a reservoir of around 70 billion cubic meters, which is scheduled to start filling next year.

Egypt Opposition Accused Morsi for Using the NIle to Divert Attention from Domestic Politics

Ahram ONline Report that the opposition in Egypt accuses the president of Egypt for using the Ethiopian Dam to divert attention from domestic crisis. it is known that the president has faced challenges from opposition camp. The president has been trying hard to use the Nile to silence the opposition by magnifying and exaggerating the impact of the GERD on Egypt. Recently Amr mOussa has declared that 30 june will be the end of the Morsi presidency as another revolution is on the making against the president on the day of his anniversary of one year in the palace. the following is a report of Ahram Online


Opposition campaign group dismisses President Morsi’s calls for unity over Ethiopia dam crisis, vows to launch mass protests on election anniversary
Ahram Online , Tuesday 11 Jun 2013

The president’s speech on Monday calling for “national reconciliation” over Nile dam issue is an effort to distract the people’s attention from other problems, Badr added.

The president should resign, Badr insisted.

‘Rebel’ campaign central committee member Mohamed Abdel-Aziz said,“Morsi and his people are worried. They fear the popular support of the Rebel campaign and our will to mobilise on 30 June to bring down the president.”

“Morsi is using the Nile water crisis to combat his loss of popularity, people’s anger towards him and the opposition’s boycott [of his calls for dialogue],” Abdel-Aziz added.

At a conference on Monday organised by Islamist forces to discuss the issue, Morsi said, “The country demands that we stand united.”

The ‘Rebel’ campaign was launched in May to “withdraw confidence” from President Morsi by collecting 15 million signatures by the anniversary of his inauguration on 30 June, topping the number of votes he won in the election.

Morsy’s talks with politicians, Ethiopia “war” broadcast on TV spurs criticism

 Morsi`s meeting as reported by Egypt Independent

The live broadcast of a consultative meeting held by President Mohamed Morsy and various political figures on Monday to discuss the consequences of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam included sensitive national security issues and suggestions for naval action.

Most of the attendants were unaware that the meeting was being aired live. Morsys’ assistant, Pakniam al-Sharqawy, apologized for forgetting to notify the participants about this.

Last week, Ethiopia announced the diversion of the Blue Nile’s stream as a step towards launching works on its Renaissance Dam. But the declaration and the project in general, sparked fears in Egypt and Sudan that the diversion would affect their shares of waters which they obtained under British occupation.

“We will work on absorbing the shock caused by the Millennium Dam”, Morsy said during the meeting, aired by Egypt’s state TV, adding that the dam will affect only 8 percent of the total of Egypt’s electricity generation.

Commenting on some experts’ predictions that the dam might collapse and pose a danger to Egypt, the president said: “This, of course, will be in Egypt’s favor, but we cannot say that (officially)”.

Morsy’s foreign affairs secretary, Khaled al-Qazzaz, said Ethiopia has breached international agreements by embarking on this project.

The most controversial contribution was made by Ayman Nour, chairman of Ghad al-Thawra party, who suggested that Egypt disseminate rumors that it is seeking advanced aircrafts. He said this is an intelligence technique of intimidation. “It might not be realistic, but it will bring results on the diplomatic path”. Nour, however, said he believes diplomatic efforts will not yield great outcomes: “Ethiopians have taken the decision, and it is highly difficult for them to backtrack”.

On his part, Mohamed Saad al-Katatny, former parliament speaker and chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said all options are available in handling the crisis. He added that a report submitted by a panel of experts on the dam raises concerns.

Younis Makhyoun, chairman of the Salafi Nour Party, said the last chip Egypt has is using its secret services to demolish the dam, describing the project as a declaration of war.

Chairman of the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, Abul Ela Mady, suggested sending army destroyers to the Bab al-Mandab strait and spreading rumors that Egypt is about to strike the dam.

Former information minister Osama Heikal said broadcasting the meeting live was “a farce” that reflects “the state of absurdity Egypt is experiencing”. “Is that the way to solve a national security issue?” he wondered in a phone-in with Tahrir satellite channel late Monday. “There should have been a meeting by the National Defense Council to determine the method of handling that crisis”.

Heikal blamed President Morsy for the confusion concerning the broadcast of the meeting: “There is no way the meeting was aired without Morsy’s knowledge. Had I been an Ethiopian watching that meeting, I would have concluded that Egypt is a failing state that has run out of options. The President invited irrelevant personalities to solve a national security issue. The whole world is now laughing at Egypt because of that meeting”.

An Egyptian With Opened Eyes Speaks: Regarding the Renaissance Dam

The following is a an article from the Daily News Egypt by an Egyptian man named Mahmoud Salem. According to his profile he is  is a political activist, writer, and social media consultant. It is worth reading and i found the man whose eyes are opened to see things rationally. Despite there are issues which I do not agree with his article is worth reading.  Below is the full text of his article.


For the past few weeks Egyptian society and media have been hysterical over Ethiopia’s construction of its Renaissance Dam.  The public was suddenly bombarded with the notion that Ethiopia will turn off the water faucet on Egypt and that this is an issue that threatens both our national security and survival as a nation. The government couldn’t stick to a position between assuring the public that this is not a threat and between citing this as a threat that requires one of Morsi’s famous “National Unity dialogues”, which always ends in a photo-op and no results.

The opposition was divided by some attending the meeting citing “national security” as their excuse to partake in what can only be described as political mess. While others, like Hamdeen Sabahy, gave out laughable recommendations such as stopping ships from countries that are helping build that dam (China, Italy, Israel) from passing through the Suez Canal. Personally, I would love to see the Egyptian government just try and stop any of those countries from getting their ships through, especially China. This should be hilarious. Nowhere to be found: A single statement from any party outlining the policy options that they would implement if they were in charge.

All the while, many talking heads started spouting nonsensical crap about an Egyptian military strike on Ethiopia, while seemingly screaming in all of their interviews that “We are too strong and powerful for Ethiopia to mess with”. Never mind that Ethiopia was never conquered in any war and that our military never fought in the south and cannot protect its soldiers within our borders, and that there is zero evidence that the Ethiopian military- which is not weak- will kneel in front of our military might. I am chalking this up to temporary insanity caused by over-heating of the brain due to lack of consistent air conditioning in the middle of the horrible heat-wave we are currently experiencing. Let’s assess the situation, shall we?

Let’s start with the fact that Ethiopia is a sovereign nation and is well within its right to build any dam it pleases on its land, as long as it doesn’t violate the international agreements governing the water share of downstream nations, and it likely will not. Then let’s talk about water loss: from the share of water we receive, we lose about 12% of it due to evaporation while the water is stored in Lake Nasser for 10 months between the flood time and irrigation needs. Ethiopia has a lesser evaporation rate (almost half of Egypt), and the electrical dam will slow down the rate of water we receive, thus making sure that the water that gets stored in Lake Nasser arrives in stages and thus decrease our evaporation rate considerably. This will lead to an actual reduction in lost water and an increase in actual water by 5%. Believe it or not, storing the water in Ethiopia before it reaches Egypt will actually lead to an increase in our water supply.  So why the hysteria?

We used to get more than our agreed upon share of water, and we are the reigning champions of wasting drinkable water in the world. We naturally don’t have strict guidelines or enforceable laws or plans to maximise the benefits of our water resources, and we don’t really feel like doing the work or empowering capable people to do it. Here is a helpful hint: Our current hapless prime minister was the minister of water resources and irrigation. This is the guy that was in charge of that. Are you getting the picture?

Here is what Egypt should do: 1) Given our experience at building and maintaining the Aswan High Dam, we should be the people helping Ethiopia build and manage their dam, thus ensuring that it doesn’t hurt our interests; 2) Start negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to renegotiate respective shares of the extra wasted waters, thus ensuring that we don’t lose all of it; 3) Having that dam will leave Ethiopia with almost 4,000 megawatts of electricity for export purposes only, at a time where we need the electricity.  If we play ball now, we could get a long term deal that is beneficial to the needs of the Egyptian public and isn’t affected by the prices of fossil fuels; 4) Ethiopia has seriously ambitious agricultural plans, and we have about 10 million farmers without actual land to farm, so we can reach an agreement, decrease our unemployment and boost our food security;  and finally 5) Egypt needs to seriously reconsider its water policies, and create an infrastructural investment plan in desalinisation and extracting ground water from now.

Naturally, we will not do any of this.

We will not do any of this because we have a fistful of misanthropes and imbeciles running our governments and our parties, which is not a new phenomenon. Proof in point: Our own High Dam. If we ignore the environmental disaster that it is for a second, we should note that it was 60 years ago that we thought of using a renewable source of clean energy (hydro-electric power) to successfully meet our power needs, and somehow that didn’t translate into a desire to replicate the idea via other sources of clean energy (solar, wind) that we have in abundance. Instead we rely on fossil-fuel powered power plants while we lack the fossil fuels necessary to operate them, and actually have to pay for it in hard currency. The natural conclusion is what we have now: a government unable to meet our energy needs because it lacks the hard currency to purchase it, all the while complaining about the high financial burden on our budgets that is our energy subsidies, and also not doing anything about it.

Dear Egypt, take heed of this. The world is moving forward all around you, with plans of development and infrastructure to meet its future needs, with the Ethiopian dam being the ultimate proof of that, while you are going nowhere fast and talking about delusional past  glories that have nothing to do with current day realities. Ethiopia is not the problem or the enemy; our laziness, stupidity, incompetence and lack of sound planning are, and it simply cannot be allowed to continue. It’s time for you to wake up.

Source: Daily News Egypt:

Live Twitter Updates from an Egypt by Egyptian Journalist about the Renaissance Dam-Ethiopia

The following is the collection updates from twitter by an Egyptian Journalist Nouran El-Behairy reporting what was said during the meeting of the Islamist president of Egypt and the opposition party leaders and religious representatives. What is funny is though there were some who said let us use our artists and football players to stop Ethiopia from damming the Nile. This is a kind of appeal to pity fallacy where their public figures such as artists and football players will speak to Ethiopians not to construct the GERD. This is the funniest of all i discover. Actually there were some who were advising the president to have more place in Ethiopia than an Embassy. This one further went on saying that Egypt should have civil and political presence in Ethiopia. But what kind of civil and political presence is not yet clear. The president himself went on saying that he has  a plan for solar and nuclear energy-which is an indication that Egypt is not to buy power from Ethiopia. This further confirms what this blog yesterday discussed on how Egypt is alienating itself from power trade in the Nile Basin. Please enjoy the following funny remarks of the Egypt`s politicians. I simply put the remarks as reported by the journalist without any alteration. It at least gives a clue about who thinks what.


Egypt’s Morsi invites opposition to meeting on Nile dam report

President Morsi has asked for representatives from across the political spectrum to look at a report on a controversial new dam project by Ethiopia

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Reuters
Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has extended an invitation to a group of prominent Egyptian political figures to look into the recommendations of the technical committee which was tasked with assessing the impact of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam project.

 Morsi met on Sunday with the Egyptian members of the technical committee, who presented him with the committee’s report.

Presidential assistant for political affairs Pakinam El-Sharkawi said Sunday on her official Twitter account that Morsi had assigned her to invite several party heads, along with representatives from Al-Azhar University and the Coptic Orthodox Church, to discuss the final report of the committee at the presidential palace in Cairo on Monday.

Last time the president called for a similar meeting with a diverse group of Egyptian leaders was during the crisis in recent weeks when seven Egyptian security officials were kidnapped in Sinai. Most representatives of liberal parties declined the invitation at that time, amid an ongoing deadlock between the latter and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which the president hails.

The group of political figures invited to look into the committee’s findings include Mohamed El-Katatni, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Younis Makhyoun, head of the Salafist-oriented Nour Party, Amr Moussa, head of the liberal Conference Party and Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the liberal Constitution Party.

The invitees also include Hamdeen Sabbahi, head of the leftist Egyptian Popular Current, Amr Hamzawy, a former liberal MP, Mohamed Aboul-Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Amr Khaled, Islamic preacher and head of the Masr Party, Hazem Abu-Ismail, a former Salafist presidential candidate, Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, the head of the moderate Strong Egypt party, and Ayman Nour, head of the liberal Ghad El-Thawra party.

The international committee looking into the effects of the dam is made up of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian representatives as well as international experts, and has been studying the impact of the dam project since May 2012.

Last Wednesday, Egypt summoned Ethiopian ambassador Mahmoud Dardir to express its displeasure with Ethiopia’s diversion of part of the Blue Nile last week as part of the preparation process for the construction of a major new dam, amid criticisms of Ethiopia for going ahead with the project without taking into account the recommendations of the technical committee.

The move to divert part of the Blue Nile, called “historic” by Ethiopian government spokesperson Bereket Simon, has prompted criticism from downstream Egypt, since the step could negatively affect the country’s water quota.

The Blue Nile provides Egypt with the lion’s share of its annual 55 billion cubic metres of Nile water.

Ahram Online, Sunday 2 Jun 2013