Egyptian experts divided over Ethiopian Dam declaration

Egyptian experts are divided in their reactions to Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on Monday signing a declaration of principles over Ethiopia building the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the Nile’s largest tributary.

Egypt has repeatedly raised fears that Ethiopia’s $4.2-billion dam, whose construction is said to be 40 percent complete and to finish in 2017,  would negatively affect its Nile water share.

Amany El-Taweel, African affairs specialist at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, explained to Ahram Online on Tuesday that “the declaration does not grant anything to any party.”

She believes the declaration is merely an “introductory” step that forges a political atmosphere suitable for future negotiations, echoing Youssef’s sentiments that the declaration is a “true beginning” for cooperation between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.Mideast Sudan Egypt Ethiopia Nile

“It’s a political agreement, a diplomatic move par excellence,” El-Taweel said, explaining thats its aim was not to grant Egypt its rights, but to create harmonious relations.

Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said on Monday that the Declaration of Principles protects Egypt’s water rights and is consistent with international laws, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Youssef said that Egyptian diplomacy has been working on enhancing its relationship with Africa, and that Egypt is “launching” a new stage with its African neighbours.