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Cairo Officially Requests Resumption Of Talks On Ethiopian Dam Project

ADDIS ABABA, July 16 (BERNAMA-NNN-ENA) -- Egypt has officially requested the resumption of tripartite talks over Ethiopia's multi-billion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, after the talks were suspended because of the refusal of the former Egyptian administration to attend, says Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Dina Mufti.

At his weekly media briefing here Tuesday, the Spokesman said Egypt had formally requested for the resumption of the tripartite dialogue which also includes Sudan. The three countries are the main users of the waters of the River Nile.

The return of Egypt to the talks is seen as the result of rigorous efforts by the Ethiopian government to continue the talks, Dina said. The exact date for the resumption of the dialogue is being decided.

Ethiopia has been calling on the Egyptian authorities to avoid "unnecessary campaigns" against the dam, which is being built on the Blue Nile, and return to the tripartite discussions.

Egypt has been claiming that the dam could reduce its traditional share of Nile waters, which Ethiopia denies and insists the dam will benefit the two downstream states, Sudan and Egypt.

Water distribution among Nile Basin States has long been regulated by a colonial-era agreement granting Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of the river's water, a situation which is now questioned by other riparian countries led by Ethiopia.

The Spokesman also said Ethiopia was committed to further deepening ties with neighbouring countries, including the Nile basin countries.

Last week, Ethiopia's Amhara Regional State named some of the conference halls it inaugurated after the Nile basin countries. The respective countries' ambassadors inaugurated the conference halls at Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara state, which lies on the shores of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile.

The respective countries may use these conference halls to promote their culture, Dina said. By doing this, the government believes that the countries will develop a sense of mutual benefit over River Nile, he said.

He also mentioned the continued support of the Ethiopian Diaspora for the construction of the dam, noting the recent US$1.4 million contribution of the Diaspora in Dubai through purchasing of bonds.

Dina also said relations between Ethiopia and China had received a boost with the recent visit of Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome to Beijing. During his visit, the President met with high-level officials and made a speech at the annual Eco-Forum Global Conference held in Guiyang, the capital of southwestern China's Guizhou Province.

-- BERNAMA-NNN-ENA





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