Egypt FM flies to Ethiopia amidst dam crisis

Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr has left for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday as head of a diplomatic delegation that includes irrigation experts. The delegation will discuss the crisis concerning the Renaissance Dam with Ethiopian officials.

Magdy Amer, assistant foreign minister and coordinator of Nile Water affairs, said on Saturday that Amr's visit to Addis Ababa represents the first step towards a political solution to the Ethiopian dam crisis.

While Ethiopia has started diverting the course of the Blue Nile in accordance to its construction plan, a tripartite committee made up of experts from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia has said that further studies were needed to examine the potential impact building the dam could have.

Egypt says its "historic right" to the Nile is outlined in two treaties dating from 1929 and 1959, both of which guarantee the country 87 percent of the Nile's water and enables it to veto any upstream projects.

However, a new deal signed in 2010 by the other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, gives any of these nations permission to develop projects on the river without Cairo's prior approval.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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