Eritrea denies it plans to disrupt work on Ethiopia’s renaissance dam

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Eritrea denies it plans to disrupt work on Ethiopia’s renaissance dam

In summary

  • Eritrea says claims to disrupt the Renaissance dam unfounded
  • Claims emerges as Eritrea-Egypt relationship deepens
  • Construction of the Renaissance dam enters 7th year amid opposition from Egypt

Eritrea now says that enhanced relationship with Egypt does not in any way depict plans to disrupt construction of Ethiopia’s renaissance dam that is expected to be Africa’s biggest hydropower dam.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said the claims emanating from Ethiopia were unfounded.

“The claim by the Ethiopian regime that the relation between Eritrea and Egypt is targeting the millennium dam is unfounded,” the Ministry of Information said on its website.

President Isaias traveled to Egypt capital Cairo in November last year to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, where the two discussed deepening relations.

For a long time now, Egypt’s government believes that construction of the hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River contravenes colonial-era treaties that grant it the right to the bulk of the river’s water. Ethiopian officials reject the accords as obsolete and unjust. The plant, being built at a cost of $6.4 billion, is scheduled for completion next year and will produce as much as 6,450 megawatts of power.

Meanwhile Ethiopia blames forces receiving support from Egypt and Eritrea for trying to destabilize the country and disrupt the construction of the dam.

In March this year Ethiopia announced that it had foiled an “Eritrean-sponsored terrorist attack” on the multi-billion dollar Renaissance Dam. Zadig Abrha, a deputy spokesman for the government said at the time 13 assailants belonging to the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement were killed Tuesday during the attack.

Eritrea achieved independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after decades of armed struggle. The two countries fought again in 1998-2000 over the disputed territory of Badme on their border in a conflict that left at least 50,000 people dead.

Egypt and Sudan have signed a deal with two French consultancy firms to study the anticipated impact of a massive hydroelectric dam. However, construction of the mega dam remain a contentious issue.

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