Renaissance dam project success hinges on Ethiopians’ resolve, not on Egypt’s rhetoric: Deputy PM

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Addis Ababa, 12 March 2014 (WIC) – The successful completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam hinges on the resolve of Ethiopians and not on Egypt’s rhetoric, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said.

In a radio interview with FBC, the Deputy Premier, who is also chairman of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation in the construction of GERD, said the construction of the dam is well underway in accordance with the schedule.

Demeke said the dam, the largest in Africa with power generating capacity of 6000 megawatts, is a manifestation of the nation’s capability to undertake giant developmental projects on its own.

The Nile River is a shared resource of countries both downstream and upstream the river, Demeke reiterated Ethiopia’s stance which has gained acceptance in much of the upstream countries.

He said the dam will not significantly harm both Sudan and Egypt downstream the Nile River adding that region as a whole could benefit from much needed electricity supply which Ethiopia plans to export.

Sudan, which benefited from a regulated water flow due to the Tekeze Dam, has officially backed the construction of the Renaissance Dam. Ethiopia and Sudan are keen to continue the tripartite negotiations which Egypt walked out of in disagreement.

Demeke accused Egyptian officials of repeated rhetoric against the construction of the dam choosing to disregard the glaring benefits their country could benefit from the project.

This may be an attempt by Egyptian officials to divert the attention of the public from their internal politics and a desire to retain exclusive control over the Nile waters, Demeke said.

Demeke said Ethiopia will continue to show to the international community about the benefits of the dam not only to Ethiopia but also to downstream countries and the region as a whole.