Ethiopian FM: We agree to Egyptian delegation’s demands

Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said his country has agreed to the request made by the Egyptian popular diplomacy delegation to postpone the Ethiopian Parliament’s ratification of the the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) Cooperative Framework Agreement (SFA), so as to reassure the Egyptian people that the project will not harm them in any way.

The Egyptian delegation was received by Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis at the presidential palace in Addis Ababa on Saturday. The delegation includes 48 public figures representing a wide array of political parties and revolutionary coalitions.

The delegation had requested that the ratification be delayed until Egypt elects its new president so as to allow Egypt the time it needs to study and sign the agreement.

Ethiopia, along with six African countries, signed the agreement, which aims to establish new joint controls over the Nile in terms of use and maintenance.

In a statement on Wednesday to the Daily Monitor, an independent Ethiopian newspaper, Dessalines said, "Ethiopia also approved the delegation’s request to allow a team of experts to examine the effects of the Grand Millennium Dam, which is to be built near the Sudanese border to generate electricity, so as to assure the Egyptians that the project will not harm them."

During the reign of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the dam project caused tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt to rise. The Egyptian administration had reservations regarding the possible impact on Egypt's share of Nile waters, which amount to 55 million cubic meters annually, not to mention Israel's support for the project.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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