Ethiopia will not accept Egypt’s request to include the World Bank in the tripartite technical committee’s talks on Nile River dam, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says

By Elias Meseret (Associated Press) |

Ethiopia’s leader has rejected arbitration by the World Bank on a disagreement with Egypt over the hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Saturday refused the suggestion made by Egypt in late December that the World Bank should be brought in to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia over the construction of the dam on the Nile River that Egypt says threatens its water security. Sudan is also part of the negotiations because the Nile flows through it on the way to Egypt.

“Ethiopia will not accept Egypt’s request to include the World Bank in the tripartite technical committee’s talks on the dam,” Hailemariam told the state run Ethiopian News Agency after visiting Egypt on Friday where he met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. “There is an opportunity for the three countries to resolve possible disputes by themselves.”

Egypt’s suggestion came amid a 10-month impasse over technical negotiations for the dam, which will be Africa’s biggest hydro-electric plant. Egyptian officials have called the World Bank “neutral and decisive” and said the organization could facilitate negotiations “devoid of political interpretation and manipulation.”

But the Ethiopian leader said that “seeking professional support is one thing; transferring it to an institution is another thing. So we told them (Egypt) that this is not acceptable with our side.” Hailemariam said that Egyptians are not getting accurate information about the source of Nile waters and how Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam will operate.

The $5 billion Nile river dam is about 63 percent complete. When finished it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts. The dam will also help to spare Ethiopia from drought and famine.

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