El-Sisi backs Egyptian companies building major dam in Tanzania

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 September 2020

El-Sisi backs Egyptian companies building major dam in Tanzania

  • The project aims to generate energy with a capacity of 2115 megawatts, to be transmitted through 400 kV lines

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has expressed his support for the construction of a dam at the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station in Tanzania by two Egyptian companies.

Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric were awarded the contract for the construction of the dam on the Rufiji River by the Tanzanian government in December 2018, at a cost of $2.9 billion.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has held a meeting to follow upon the project. He said President El-Sisi wanted the dam in Tanzania “to express the ability of the Egyptian contracting sector to complete major projects to the highest quality.”

Minister of Housing Assem Al-Jazzar confirmed that the project aims to generate energy with a capacity of 2115 megawatts, to be transmitted through 400 kV lines.

Head of the Central Agency for Reconstruction Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Nassar said the Julius Nyerere dam protects the surrounding environment from the dangers of flooding and will store about 34 billion cubic meters of water in a new lake that ensures the constant availability of water throughout the year for agriculture and fishing and the preservation of surrounding wildlife.

He said that the project consists of the main concrete dam body and four supplementary dams to form the water reservoir, two temporary dams in front and behind the main dam, and a hydroelectric power station. He explained that a housing complex and a temporary and permanent road network will be established to serve the project, which will also involve a spillway, a 703-meter tunnel, a permanent concrete bridge and two bridges over the Rufiji River.

Gen. Nassar said that despite the challenges faced by those working on the project, mainly caused by four floods between December 2019 and March 2020, they had still managed to complete a large part of the project. The number of employees working on it stood at 5,233 workers, made up of 526 Egyptian workers, and 3,974 Tanzanian workers, as well as 733 foreign workers from other countries.


Turkish Cypriots elect Erdogan’s candidate amid east Med tensions

Turkish Cypriot politician Ersin Tatar celebrates his election victory in Turkish-controlled northern Nicosia, Cyprus October 18, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 October 2020

Turkish Cypriots elect Erdogan’s candidate amid east Med tensions

  • The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations”
  • Tatar is an advocate of a two-state solution and held the post of premier in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

NICOSIA: Turkish Cypriots in breakaway northern Cyprus on Sunday narrowly elected right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar, backed by Ankara, in a run-off poll, at a time of heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Tatar, 60, clinched his surprise victory in a second round of presidential elections, winning 51.7 percent of the vote, official results showed.
He edged out incumbent Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, 72, a supporter of reunification with the Greek Cypriot south of the divided island, leaving attempts to relaunch long-stalled UN-brokered talks hanging in the balance.
Tatar is an advocate of a two-state solution and held the post of premier in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Ankara.
He controversially received the open backing of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the election campaign.
In a victory speech to hundreds of cheering and Turkish flag-waving supporters, Tatar thanked Turkey’s head of state and said: “We deserve our sovereignty — we are the voice of Turkish Cypriots.
“We are fighting to exist within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, therefore our neighbors in the south and the world community should respect our fight for freedom.”
There was no immediate official reaction from the Greek Cypriot government or ruling party in the south of the island, which is a European Union member state, although opposition parties were quick to lament the outcome.
Erdogan was swift to celebrate the victory, which followed a high 67-percent turnout at the polls.
“I congratulate Ersin Tatar who has been elected president ... Turkey will continue to provide all types of efforts to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people,” he wrote on Twitter.

HIGHLIGHT

Ersin Tatar edged out incumbent Mustafa Akinc, leaving attempts to relaunch UN-brokered talks hanging in the balance.

In a telephone call the same night, Erdogan said he was confident the two leaders would maintain close cooperation in all areas, “starting with the hydrocarbon linked activities in the eastern Mediterranean,” his office said.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly assertive regional power that is now engaged in a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters.
The European Union has deplored Turkey’s drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further “provocations,” while multiple countries have staged military drills in the region in recent months.
The second-round ballot was triggered after Tatar won 32 percent of the vote on Oct. 11 ahead of Akinci, who garnered just under 30 percent.
Akinci was tipped to secure a second term, having won the backing of Tufan Erhurman, a fellow social democrat who came third last time around.
After his defeat, Akinci, who had accused Ankara of meddling in the polls, thanked his supporters and said: “You know what happened ... I am not going to do politics on this.”
The TRNC, with a population of about 300,000, was established after the north was occupied by Turkey in 1974 in reaction to a coup that aimed to annex Cyprus to Greece.
Earlier in October, Turkish troops angered the Republic of Cyprus by reopening public access to the fenced-off seaside ghost town of Varosha for the first time since Turkish forces invaded the north.
The reopening was announced jointly by Erdogan and Tatar at a meeting in Ankara just days before the first round of polling.
It drew EU and UN criticism and sparked demonstrations in the Republic of Cyprus, which exercises its authority over the island’s south, separated from the TRNC by a UN-patrolled buffer zone.
On the eve of Sunday’s vote, Greek Cypriot demonstrators massed at a checkpoint along the so-called “Green Line,” holding signs that read “Cyprus is Greek,” in protest at the reopening of nearby Varosha to the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey has repeatedly said it seeks to defend Turkish and Turkish Cypriots’ rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Akinci’s relationship with Ankara had come under strain, especially after he described the prospect of the north’s annexation by Turkey as “horrible” in February.
When Akinci took office in 2015, he was hailed as the leader best placed to revive peace talks.
But hopes were dashed in July 2017 after UN-mediated negotiations collapsed in Switzerland, notably over Greek Cypriot demands for the withdrawal of the tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers still stationed in the TRNC.