Egyptians discuss response to Ethiopian dam

Ethiopia’s announcement on Friday of the inauguration of its new Tana Beles dam aimed to provoke Egypt’s anger and lead it to taking swift diplomatic behavior which would turn global public opinion in favor of upstream Nile countries and away from international legislation contained in the two water conventions of 1929 and 1959, official sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Egyptian official bodies responsible for the Nile issue met yesterday, according to the sources, to discuss ways to deal with the new situation. They asked for detailed information about the dam to be presented to President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has been in fierce disagreement with upstream Nile countries over the distribution of water, which Egypt wants to remain unchanged.

Hammo el-Omrani, head of the regional office of the International Development Research Center, said the Ethiopian declarations aimed to prompt Egypt into demanding the delay of water projects planned to be carried out on the Nile instead of requesting new negotiations, which is in Ethiopia’s interests. He also said that Egyptian calm reactions were the reason for Ethiopia’s declarations, which aimed to turn international support in its favor, rather than supporting the Egyptian perspective.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit held talks yesterday with his Belgian counterpart Steven Vanackere in which they discussed the latest developments between Egypt and Sudan on one side, and source countries on the other.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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