Ethiopia summons Egypt’s ambassador over dam issue

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The Ethiopian government has summoned the Egyptian ambassador to demand an explanation after comments were made by politicians in Cairo suggesting their country sabotage a Nile River dam Ethiopia is constructing, AP reported.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dina Mufti said Thursday that the ambassador was summoned to explain the “hostile remarks.”

Ethiopia will press ahead with the building of its dam on the Blue Nile River, officials said Thursday, according to AFP, a day after Cairo said “all options are open” if its water supply is affected.

“We are going to continue with our project, I don’t think it will depend on the will of politicians in Egypt,” said Getachew Reda, spokesperson for Ethiopian premier. “As far as the will of the Ethiopian government and the will of the Ethiopian people are concerned, there shouldn’t be any question whatsoever about the Renaissance Dam, it will continue.”

In a statement released earlier Thursday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammad Kamel Amr said that his country will coordinate with Sudan and Ethiopia over the dam issue. However, a day earlier, Cairo said it would demand Ethiopia end the building of the hydroelectric plant.

Last week, Ethiopia began diverting the flow of the Nile River to make way for a $4.2 billion massive dam, which was dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Cairo is concerned that the new project will mean a diminished share of the Nile River.

Apparently unaware they were being filmed on live TV, Egyptian politicians meeting with Egypt’s president on Monday proposed to sabotage Ethiopia’s plans to build the dam.

Some politicians suggested backing rebels to carry out sabotage. However, Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi did not directly react to the suggestions but said in concluding remarks that Egypt respects Ethiopia and its people and will not engage in any aggressive acts against the East African nation.

Meanwhile, an aide to Mursi apologized after she failed to inform politicians holding talks with the president that they were live on air.

“Due to the importance of the topic it was decided at the last minute to air the meeting live. I forgot to inform the participants about the changes,” presidential aide for political affairs Pakinam el-Sharkawi said.

“I apologize for any embarrassment caused to the political leaders,” she said on Twitter.

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