Ethiopia keeping Egypt in dark on Nile dam
April. 19 2011
Ethiopia did not inform Egypt it planned to build a huge dam on the Nile and the two countries have not discussed the issue despite fears a dispute over the river could spark war, Ethiopia's water minister said.
Work on the 5,250 megawatt (MW) Renaissance Dam - which will be one of the world's ten biggest -- began this month with Italy's Salini Costruttori overseeing a project with a $4.78 billion cost Ethiopia plans to fund itself.
"No. They found out from the media," Alemayehu Tegenu told Reuters in an interview on Monday when asked if Ethiopia had officially informed Egypt it was building its first dam on the Nile -- something Egypt has always opposed.
The nine countries through which the Nile flows have for more than 10 years been locked in bitter talks to renegotiate colonial-era treaties that gave Egypt the lion's share of the river's waters and veto power over upstream dam projects.
Tensions rose last month when Burundi joined five other countries -- Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania -- and signed a new deal stripping Egypt of its veto and agreeing to renegotiate how much water each country is entitled to.