PM Hailemariam cites major shift from Egypt on Nile dam

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Addis Ababa, 8 July 2014 (WIC) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Monday that Egypt has shown a major shift of stance toward Renaissance Dam being built on the upper reaches of the Nile.

“Ethiopia welcomes the recent shift in stance demonstrated by the new Egyptian leadership,” Hailemariam told the parliament, hinting at a new chapter of mending fences between the two Nile-basin nations.

Hailemariam’s remarks came to show thaw in ties between the two countries after they agreed last month to resume tripartite talks – also including Sudan – to discuss the construction of the massive dam.

The understanding came after Hailemariam agreed with recently-elected Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi during late June’s African summit in Malabo to resume talks on the mega-dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile.

“The tripartite talks will not be simple and we expect some tough proposals from the Egyptian side,” Hailemariam said. “Ethiopia will keep its calm and follow through the tripartite engagement.”

Hailemariam went on to say that he asserted during his meeting with Sisi that the construction of the dam would not be disrupted.

“It would be better for Ethiopia and Egypt to cooperate on a basis of understanding and mutual trust,” the premier said. “The two countries should cooperate [in other fields] beyond the Nile,” he added.

Set up in 2011, a tripartite technical committee was tasked with studying the impact of the multibillion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the two downstream countries.

Ethiopia insists that the dam is necessary for its national development, saying that the project will not impact Egypt’s share of Nile water. (dailystar)