Monday, March 31, 2014
CAIRO – Egyptian authorities have drawn up a committee to issue recommendations with the aim of allowing international arbitration over Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project currently being built on the Nile’s upper reaches, Egypt’s official gazette stated on Monday.
It is the first time for Cairo to allude to its intention to resort to international law to resolve the ongoing political stalemate between it and Addis Ababa over the latter’s gigantic Renaissance Dam project, which, Egyptian officials say, threatens Egypt’s traditional share of Nile water.
According to Egypt’s official gazette, which publicizes official government decisions, members of the new committee have been tasked with studying the dam project’s legal aspects.
The committee is comprised of six members – including one representative each from the ministries of foreign affairs, irrigation and defense – the gazette reported.
The newspaper added that the committee also included three international law experts, noting that committee members had been charged with determining Egypt’s legal rights vis-à-vis Nile water.
Ethiopia has tried to allay Egyptian fears regarding the dam, much of which has already been built, saying the project would not harm Egypt’s interests and could even contribute to Egypt’s future development.
Anadolu Agency could not obtain immediate comment from the Ethiopian government on Egypt’s plans to seek international arbitration.
Some Ethiopian officials had earlier downplayed the possibility that Egypt would resort to international arbitration, saying there were no courts mandated with adjudicating international water disputes.
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