Ethiopia, Sudan working to bring Egypt to dialogue

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Addis Ababa, 25 February 2014 (WIC) - Ethiopia has the right to utilize its water resource and no one can stop it from doing so, Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy has said.

The Minister made the remark at a consultative workshop held on Sunday to assess the performance of the sector over the past six months of the current Ethiopian budget year.

Addressing participants drawn from institutions under the auspices of the Ministry including regional water, irrigation and energy bureaus and other stakeholders, Alemayehu said because of its geographical location, most of Ethiopia’s rivers happen to be trans boundary.

Even so, the country has always been willing and ready to share those trans boundary waters with neighbouring countries, he said.

That is why it took the initiative and signed the Nile River Basin Cooperation Framework Agreement.

He said Ethiopia has also been working on the handling of possible future claims concerning the utilization of other trans boundary waters.

As regards the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Alemayehu said, three Nile riparian countries will have highly benefited from the dam whereas it will hardly have any harm on downstream countries.

He said discussions had been going on with downstream countries on the report of the International Panel of Experts on the Impacts of GERD on Downstream Countries until they were interrupted recently because of Egypt.

Ethiopia and Sudan have been working together to bring Egypt back to the dialogue, he added.

30 percent of overall work on GERD was done by the end of the past Ethiopian month (Tir), Alemayehu said, and attributed the success to the support from the general public.

According to ERTA, he called on the public to keep up the support until the successful completion of the project.