Ethiopia declines Egyptian offer to finance Renaissance Dam
Renaissance Dam - AFP

CAIRO: Ethiopia declined Egypt’s Wednesday proposal to finance the construction of the Renaissance Dam and many Egyptians see this latest developmen evidence of Ethiopia’s “obstinacy” toward breaking the political impasse.

“Ethiopia expresses appreciation to the Egyptian initiative to finance the dam, but the project will be completely financed by the Ethiopian people,” said Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti Friday.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy made the offer to finance the Renaissance Dam in return for participating in its management during his meeting with Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom on Wednesday on the sidelines of E.U.-Africa Summit in Brussels.

Mufti said, “It is impossible to execute the Egyptian offer, as the idea of common management of the dam contradicts with the Ethiopian constitution.”

Egypt’s former Assistant Foreign Minister Rakha Ahmed Hassan, member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs, praised the Egyptian offer, describing it as a positive initiative aiming to bridge the gap between the two countries.

He told The Cairo Post, “Egypt is ready to support any project on the Nile to achieve development in Africa; while it refuses any step that could harm its share of the Nile water.”  He criticized the Ethiopian statements, stressing that they reflect the obstinacy of the Ethiopian position.

Hassan denied Egypt was maneuvering to gain international support, saying, “Egypt’s position already gained international support a long time ago,” and added the World Bank suspended its financial support for the construction of the dam due to the Ethiopian failure to gain the approval of all Nile Basin Countries.

Ethiopia’s former Ambassador to Cairo Ibrahim Idris said in an interview with the Ethiopian newspaper The Reporter on March 22 that his government does not depend on external assistance regarding development projects. The Renaissance Dam is being built without foreign support, he said.

He added, “Egypt has embarked on a campaign to internationalize the dam. Personally, I do not understand the rationale behind this effort.”

Ambassador Hassan said “Ethiopian obstinacy” could push Egyptian diplomacy to turn to an international organization or the international judiciary to contain the “clear threat against our water security.”

Spokesperson of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Badr Abdel Atty said that the Egyptian offer pushed a number of African states to understand the Egyptian position on the issue.

He told the Mehewar satellite channel Friday that Fahmy stressed during his meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart that Egypt’s water security is redline. He added that the Egyptian offer came to refute the Ethiopian claim that Egypt opposes the development in Ethiopia.

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