Sudan reaffirms support for Ethiopia dam project
Addis Ababa, 11 June 2014 (WIC) - Sudanese Vice President Bekri Hassan Saleh has reaffirmed his country's support for Ethiopia's multibillion dam construction project.
"Sudan will derive multiple benefits from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project," Saleh said at a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Tuesday.
Last year, Sudan backed an Ethiopian decision to change the course of the Blue Nile – one of the Nile River's most important tributaries – in advance of building a multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam, plans for which had already impacted relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia says it needs the dam to generate badly-needed electricity. Egypt, for its part, says the dam will reduce its traditional share of the Nile River, its main source of water.
Last December, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Khartoum would enjoy a large share of the electricity generated by the dam.
A tripartite committee of experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan was drawn up in 2011 and tasked with assessing the dam's environmental, economic and social impact on downstream states Egypt and Sudan.
The committee's activities came to a standstill in January over differences between Ethiopia and Egypt, the latter of which fears that the $6.4-billion dam will threaten its traditional access to Nile water.
At Tuesday's meeting, Saleh also called on Ethiopia to exert its utmost efforts to end the conflict in neighboring South Sudan.
Hailemariam, for his part, told the Sudanese official that Ethiopia had been working to help South Sudan's warring parties find viable solution to the crisis ever since it erupted last December.
"Ethiopia will continue to put pressure on the South Sudanese rivals through all channels available," he said. (World Bulletin)
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