- Ethiopia postpones signing Nile Basin agreement; Egypt welcomes decision
Cairo -Forty-seven members of an Egyptian delegation have arrived in Addis Ababa to mend relations between the two countries after months-long fallout over the sharing of the Nile River waters.
The delegation consists of three presidential hopefuls and some of the best known Egyptian opposition leaders as well as representatives of young people who toppled President Hosni Mubarak on January 25 in a popular revolution.
Three presidential hopefuls Hamdian Sabhy, Hisham Basetawsi, Bosayna Kamel are among those seeking to convince Ethiopia to consider Egypt’s interest on Nile River.
Mr Mostafa Ahmady, the press attaché of Egyptian Embassy in Addis Ababa told this reporter that the delegation is scheduled to meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and other officials as well as religious leaders.
“The mission is to maintain a historical friendship between the two countries despite the recent diplomatic row” Mr Ahmady said.
Egypt fell into a diplomatic trap after Ethiopia announced it would build an ever bigger hydro dam power generation dam with a capacity of 5250 Megawatts at a cost of $5 billion on the Nile River.
Egypt requested for an explanation and documentation of studies on the dam but Ethiopia rejected the request. Egypt is worried about the impact of the dam on its historical water rights but Ethiopia says the dam will not affect the flow of the water.
Ethiopian PM Melis Zenawi announced that his country will postpone signing the Nile basin agreement until Egypt elects a new parliament and president. Zenawi also agreed to forming a committee of Ethiopian, Egyptian and Sudanese experts to look into the Millennium Dam project.
Zenawi expressed his belief that the dam will be of good to Ethiopia and its neighboring countries. However, in consideration of the Egyptian people’s concerns and in admiration of their revolution, Ethiopia will wait until Egypt elects its new government before forming an experts committee that will examine the project further and study any potential harms. Zenwai said that although he believes the dam will not be of any harm to Egypt and other neighboring countries, he will wait until the project is further examined by a committee also representing Egypt and Sudan.
Traditionally influential power and well-armed Egypt has been forced to retreat from its earlier furious position to one of negotiating on the Nile River issue
The Ethiopian government has welcomed the dialogue but not on the hydro dam project.