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Ethiopian President defends Nile dam filling on visit to Niger

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde defends Nile Dam filing as she visits Niger's new leader.   -  
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Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde has defended the disputed Nile dam filing as she visits Niger’s new leader Mohammed Bazoum.

The meeting focused on the contentious Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The issue has been a source of tension in the Nile River Basin since Ethiopia broke ground in 2011.

"The important point we discussed is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia built on the Nile that we call Abai and contributes 70% of the Nile's waters. More than 65% of our population does not have electricity. It's a hydro-electric dam that is not built to hold water, but produce the electricity we need for our development", the Ethiopian president said.

Meanwhile, a member of the US Senate Relations Committee said issues of the dam should be resolved through negotiations in peace.

Senator Christopher Coons who visited Sudan Wednesday said the country has the right to technical information on the dam’s flows and safety issues.

"This is an issue that needs to be resolved between the parties in good faith, peaceably, through negotiations. Ethiopia certainly has a right to build a dam and to manage the benefits of hydroelectric power and so forth, but Sudan also has a right to expect the appropriate sharing of technical information about flow, about safety. And there should be a framework, an agreement achieved’’, Coons said at a news conference.

Last Friday, Sudan warned that it could take legal action against Ethiopia.

That’s if the latter goes ahead with plans to fill a mega-dam on the Blue Nile without a deal with Khartoum and Cairo.

Negotiations are underway between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan aimed at resolving a year’s long dispute over the giant structure that Ethiopia is building on the Nile's main tributary.

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