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Ethiopian Minister Says Renaissance Dam has Become a Reality | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A general view of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. Reuters

Khartoum-Ethiopia’s government communication affairs office Minister, Getachew Reda, has said that his country’s government was impaired by the war in Yemen, adding that it will work for peace in the region by using its influence with both sides of the conflict.

Reda told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper in Khartoum that the Ethiopian government will exert additional efforts to bring the two sides of the conflict to the negotiating table.

He also said that his country completed 70 percent of construction of the hydropower Renaissance Dam.

The minister said that not only Yemen and Gulf countries are affected by Yemen’s war but also Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

“If Ethiopia was affected, so will Sudan,” he said.

“Such conflicts can only be resolved through peaceful means. And since relations between our countries are more complicated … Ethiopia and Sudan are working together on several issues that affect the Horn of Africa and the Middle East,” he added.

Reda warned that the region is also facing the threat of terrorism.

Asked what role Ethiopia can play in resolving the war in Yemen, he said: “One of the important roles that we can play is bringing the warring parties to talks.”

“We can convince the two sides that are involved in talks in Kuwait on the importance of peace,” he said. “We can also use our good relations in the region, including our special ties with Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf, to give peace a chance.”

“Saudi Arabia has more than $4 billion of investments in Ethiopia, mainly in the field of agriculture. Most of these investments come from the private sector but the Saudi government supports and backs them,” he said.

Asked about differences on the construction of the Renaissance Dam, Reda said: “Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have agreed on the technical committees. Furthermore, we haven’t promised to stop construction work pending the completion of technical studies.”

“These committees are specialized in studying whether the dam would harm Sudan or Egypt and not whether to build or not to build the dam,” he added.

“The dam will not harm the interests of Sudan and Egypt,” Reda stressed. “The Egyptians finally understood that it is necessary to reach some kind of understanding, which compels us to work together.”

“No matter what happens, things will not change. The dam has become a reality. The people of the three countries will benefit from it,” he said.

“But if some (parties) believe that they will be harmed by it, then this is not Ethiopia’s problem,” he stressed.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that 50 percent of construction work was finished and most civil engineering projects were complete. “When turbines are installed, 70 percent of the project will be complete.”

The minister also denied that Ethiopia has border disputes with Sudan.

“Some people from both sides are trying to complicate the situation on the border. We should fight them together,” he said.

“We should continue the demarcation of the common border based on international agreements,” he added.