Egypt MP: UAE financing Ethiopia dam project

An Egyptian parliamentarian yesterday accused the UAE of financing Ethiopia’s controversial dam.

During a parliament session held to discuss the new Sukuk (bonds) draft bill, Nasserist MP Diaa al-Din Dawoud demanded the “High Dam and the Suez Canal” be excluded from the law, so Sukuk would not be traded on them in the future.

He said this was an effort to stop others from interfering in these major projects. “There are countries that contribute to the construction of the Renaissance Dam and so that no one in a headscarf and thobe [in reference to the Gulf countries’ traditional dress for men] interferes in such projects.”

Egypt’s Parliament Speaker, Hanafi Jabali, however, hit back and demanded Daqoud’s comments be deleted from record, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.

Egyptian lawmaker and TV host who is close to the regime, Mustafa Bakri, commented: “We all respect our Arab brothers, and what the lawmaker mentioned gave indications that he should not have given, that Gulf countries finance the Renaissance Dam” referring to the UAE.

“The aforementioned country has sent a ministerial envoy to Sudan and Ethiopia, and this envoy submitted to the Egyptian leadership a full report, and they are with us in the same trench, and we have to put our hands together.”

On Sunday, the Egyptian parliament approved the Sukuk bill that would allow the Egyptian government to issue Sharia-compliant sovereign bonds on local and foreign markets.

Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan it says will provide the country with much-needed electricity and economic regeneration. Egypt believes it will restrict its access to Nile waters.

Egypt is almost entirely dependent on Nile water, receiving around 55.5 million cubic metres a year from the river, and believes that filling the dam will affect the water it needs for drinking, agriculture, and electricity.

Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn’t and issued a statement to this effect.

There is also an unresolved issue over how fast the dam will be filled, with Egypt fearing if it is filled too quickly, it could affect the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam.

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