Ethiopia approves Nile water deal opposed by Egypt, Sudan

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Ethiopia’s parliament on Thursday approved the Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement, replacing all colonial-era deals that granted Egypt and Sudan the majority of water rights to the world’s longest river, Egyptian daily al-Yawm al-Sabea reported.

The parliament unanimously ratified the agreement, which is strongly opposed by Egypt and Sudan.

The move comes amid tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s decision to build the Renaissance Dam, which will divert Nile water.

Egypt strongly opposes the dam out of fear that it will cause a dangerous water shortage.

“All options are open” in dealing with the situation, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said on Monday, adding that his country is willing to confront any threats to its water security.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn responded that a declaration of war by Egypt would be “tantamount to insanity.”

Desalegn described statements by Egyptian politicians, particularly those from the Muslim Brotherhood, as “provocative.”

He accused the Egyptian government of exploiting the issue of the dam “to confront its rivals and evade its local crises.”

Desalegn said: “No one, no matter who he is, can prevent Ethiopia from establishing developmental projects on its land.”

He added that the dam is “a national plan” that will lift the Ethiopian people out of poverty.

Desalegn emphasized his belief in “dialogue and negotiating in order to serve both countries’ interests,” adding that the dam will not harm Sudan or Egypt.

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