Ethiopia slams anti-dam group’s ‘proxy campaign’ on GERD

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Addis Ababa, 12 April 2014 (WIC) – Ethiopia slammed a recent statement by International Rivers Network (IRN), a US based anti-dam group, as a proxy campaign against Ethiopia.
IRN, in a statement posted on its website on 31 March 2014 titled “GERD panel of Experts Report: Big Questions Remain”, called for the halt of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The report cited “a leaked report” of the International Panel of Experts (IPoE) which reviewed the benefits/impacts of the 6000 MW hydroelectric dam.
The IPoE submitted an 800 page report to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in May 2013 and the report is yet to be made public. The IPoE is comprised of six national experts, two each from the three countries and four international experts. 
In response to IRN’s statement, Ethiopia’s National Panel of Experts (NPoE) strongly dismissed the group’s “anti-Ethiopia lobbying which is driven by an ideological, if not fanatical-messianic mission.”
The NPoE dismissed IRN’s statement as full of lies and distortions condemning the anti-dam group’s “unfair and biased support for Egypt in its disagreements with Ethiopia contrary to its own mission statement.”
The statement accused the organization of propagating proxy campaigns against Ethiopia on behalf of Egypt, a downstream country which opposed the construction of the dam despite Ethiopia’s insistence that the dam would benefit not only the country but also the region.
“We condemn IRN’s unfair and biased support for Egypt in its disagreements with Ethiopia contrary to its own mission statement. We categorically reject IRN’s advice to Ethiopia to accept its proposal and halt construction of GERD,” NPoE said in its statement.”
The construction of Africa’s biggest hydroelectric dam on Abbay/Nile River, the longest river in the world, has been a point of contention between Ethiopia and Egypt.
This is not the first time when IRN launched criticism towards Ethiopia. The group had also called for the halt in the construction of the 1,870 MW Gibe III dam, now slated to go operational in September this year.
In its drive to extricate the country from poverty, Ethiopian government has been engaged in massive renewable energy developments including hydro, wind, geothermal and solar. The country is ranked second in Africa in hydro electric potential next to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The government is tapping in to this massive hydro potential with the aim to satisfy domestic power demands and export surplus electricity to neighboring countries and beyond.
You can find the full statement of the NPoE statement titled ‘A Proxy Campaign against Ethiopia? Response by GERD National Panel of Experts’, on ‘Articles and Features’ section of this website.

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