Ethiopian ambassador: Millennium Dam will not hurt relations with Egypt

Ethiopia's ambassador to Egypt on Tuesday said the Grand Millennium Dam project, the largest hydroelectric project in Africa, will not damage relations with Egypt. 

Ethiopia launched the project last April on one of the Nile's tributaries. However, the Egyptian government fears the dam will affect the country's share of Nile water.

In a press statement, Ambassador Mahmoud Dirir said there is "a broad prospect for Egyptian-Ethiopian cooperation" and that these relations should not be reduced to a water issue. 

"Attention should be given to other areas, especially in the commercial field," he said.

Following Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Orabi’s meeting with African ambassadors Tuesday evening, Dirir said the Grand Millennium Dam project will not hurt relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

"We are convinced that the dam does not represent a threat to Egyptian interests,” said Dirir. "The dam is being financed by Ethiopia and there are no other funding sources. "

Dirir went on to say that studies conducted by his country confirmed the dam would be useful to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

The dam would be located near the Ethiopian border with Sudan, he explained. Sudan would use the dam for irrigation and controlling floods, which used to displace thousands, he said.

He also said the dam would "organize the water's movement" to prevent flooding and that Ethiopia will not use it for irrigation as its geography does not allow this.

Dirir said the meeting between Orabi and the African ambassadors in Cairo was the first such meeting in nearly eight years.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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