Egypt denounces Ethiopia for moving ahead with Nile dam amid water-shortage fears

Egyptian Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati (2nd R) participates with a delegation in the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations with his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts (unseen) in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on October 4, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 09 October 2019

Egypt denounces Ethiopia for moving ahead with Nile dam amid water-shortage fears

  • Ethiopia says the dam will not disrupt the river’s flow and hopes the project will transform it into a power hub
  • Egypt relies on the Nile for up to 90% of its fresh water, and fears the dam will restrict already scarce supplies

CAIRO: Egypt denounced Ethiopia on Wednesday for moving forward with building and operating a hyropower dam on the Nile, which Cairo worries will threaten already scarce water supplies.
Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile which joins the White Nile in Khartoum and runs on to Egypt, says the dam will not disrupt the river’s flow and hopes the project will transform it into a power hub for the electricity-hungry region.
A diplomatic standoff has heightened tension between the countries, which have held on-again-off-again talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) for years.
They signed a “declaration of principles” with Sudan in 2015 as a basis for negotiations, but no breakthrough has been made since.
Egypt relies on the Nile for up to 90% of its fresh water, and fears the dam, which is being built in Ethiopia close to the border with Sudan, will restrict already scarce supplies.
“Ethiopia’s moving forward with the operation and filling of the Renaissance Dam is unacceptable and a clear violation of the Declaration of Principles and will have negative consequences for stability in the region,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in parliament on Wednesday.
“We call on the international community to shoulder its responsibility in finding a solution that satisfies all parties.”
After talks stalled, Egypt submitted a proposal on Aug. 1, including conditions over filling the reservoir.
Earlier this month, Ethiopia rejected that proposal, calling it “an effort to maintain a self-claimed colonial era-based water allocation and veto power on any project in the Nile system.”
Last week, Egypt said the talks were deadlocked, accusing Ethiopia of “inflexibility” and calling for international mediation. Ethiopia rejected that call.
Egypt has sought assurances that the dam will not significantly cut the river’s flow to its rapidly growing population.
Sudan also hopes to benefit from electricity produced by the GERD.


Tunisia says militant leader killed in anti-terror raid

Updated 20 October 2019

Tunisia says militant leader killed in anti-terror raid

  • Tunisian armed forces and national guardsmen led the operation
  • A terrorist leader from the Al-Qaeda branch in Tunisia was killed

TUNIS: An Al-Qaeda leader was killed and another wounded during an anti-terror raid in Tunisia on Sunday, according to the country’s defense ministry.
Tunisian armed forces and national guardsmen led the operation against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the mountainous Kasserine region near the Algerian border, ministry spokesman Mohamed Zekri told AFP.
“A terrorist leader from the Okba Ibn Nafaa group was killed” and another injured in the ongoing operation, he said.
Okba Ibn Nafaa is the Tunisian branch of AQIM.
Various extremiist groups are active in the rugged frontier region of Kasserine, including the Daesh group-affiliated Jund Al-Khalifa, or “Soldiers of the Caliphate.”
Security forces regularly carry out raids in the area.
Tunisia faced a rise in extremist activity after its 2011 revolution, with attacks killing dozens of security personnel, civilians and foreign tourists.
While the security situation has significantly improved since a series of deadly attacks in 2015, Tunisia has maintained a state of emergency for four years and assaults against security forces have persisted.