On Saturday, Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf agreed with his Ethiopian counterpart to set up a team of technical experts to assess the impact of the $4.8-billion Dam being built in Ethiopia.
The dam will be one of two built along Ethiopia’s side of the Nile River as part of a plan to produce 20,000 megawatts of power within the next 10 years.
Under colonial-era treaties, Egypt is entitled to around 55 billion of the river’s 84 billion cubic meters of water and is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its water.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi welcomed the initiative to strengthen bilateral relations with the “new Egypt” and stressed on the importance of using the Nile River as a passage for cooperation not dispute
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said, “I only want to highlight one or two points. First, we all agreed that the Nile is a bridge, that it is not a barrier, that the Nile is enough for everybody, we can all benefit without anybody losing out. These are the principles on the basis of which we intend to work,” “We have agreed to quickly establish the tripartite team of technical experts to review the impact of the dam that is being built in Ethiopia. And we have agreed to continue to work on the basis of a win-win solution for all countries in the Nile Basin.”
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia were affected last year after six of the nine Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, signed a deal that banned Cairo of its right in the river’s waters and removed its veto power over dam projects.