World Bulletin / News Desk
Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had visited Addis Ababa and offered Turkish expertise on Ethiopia’s controversial multi-billion dollar hydroelectric dam project.
“Any side that doesn’t like Egypt could be in the scene,” Abdel-Muttalib said in televised statements late Tuesday.
“The Turkish foreign minister visited Addis Ababa and offered them [Ethiopian officials] Turkish expertise,” he added.
“What I want to say is that when Turkey built the Ataturk Dam, it made the Syrians and the Iraqis thirsty and ignored international agreements,” Abdel-Muttalib claimed.
“I want to stress that Egypt is not Iraq or Syria, and Ethiopia is not Turkey,” he added.
The Turkish government is yet to respond to the Egyptian minister’s claims.
Ethiopia is building a hydroelectric dam, called the Renaissance Dam, over the Blue Nile where most of Egypt’s Nile water revenues come.
But the controversial project has raised alarms in Egypt, the most populous Arab country, about its water share.
Nile water distribution among the countries of the Nile basin used to rest on a colonial-era agreement giving Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of Nile water.
Citing development ambitions, Ethiopia insists it needs to build a series of dams to generate electricity both for local consumption and exporting.
It maintains that the new dam can be of benefit for the two downstream states of Sudan and Egypt, which will be invited to purchase electricity generated by it.
“Ethiopian officials say they do want to harm Egypt. But when we ask them to put that on paper they refuse,” said Abdel-Muttalib.
The remarks came hours after his return from Addis Ababa where he held talks with officials there on the dam.
He accused Ethiopian officials of turning down all proposals to narrow the gap between the two sides.
“We are not naïve to continue dialogue without reaching a solution. There are other alternatives that we need to take,” the minister said without elaborating.