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Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:04 - Updated Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:03

Construction of Ethiopian dam "won't stop for any reason": diplomat

KHARTOUM -- Ethiopia will not stop the construction of its Renaissance Dam for any reason, the country's Ambassador to Sudan Mulugeta Zewdie told reporters here on Monday.

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Saying "this matter cannot be bargained," Zewdie stressed that there are no negotiations as to whether to stop or delay the construction of the dam.

The ambassador accused foreign parties, namely Eritrea, of attempting to destabilize his country by supplying opposition groups with weapons and money to sabotage vital projects in Ethiopia, including the Renaissance Dam.

"We will prove with solid evidence the degree of the involvement of hidden foreign hands, mainly Eritrea, which fed protests in Ethiopia," Zewdie said.

A trilateral meeting among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on the dam originally scheduled for Feb. 24-25 was delayed. Egypt has raised concern over the construction of the dam as well as political tensions in Ethiopia.

The country's ongoing anti-government protests and increasing ethnic clashes has resulted in Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's resignation on Feb. 15, which he said was an effort to advance reforms aimed at easing the political unrest.

Negotiations among the three African countries are at a stalemate due to disagreement over a technical report prepared by a French consultancy office on the dam that Ethiopia is constructing on the Blue Nile River.

In December 2017, Egypt proposed to the Ethiopian side involvement of the World Bank as a neutral party in the works of the technical committee, but that was rejected by Ethiopia.

Egypt fears that the dam will cut into its water supply, as the Blue Nile is a major tributary of the Nile River, while upstream country Ethiopia is assuring that the dam will bring more power generation and will not harm the two downstream partners Egypt and Sudan.

The Renaissance Dam is located in east Ethiopia's Benishangul-Gumuz region, about 15 km east of border with Sudan.

Ethiopia's current protests have been triggered by the country's two biggest ethnic groups Oromia and Amhara who say that they have for years been marginalized by the government.

The country has recently imposed a state of emergency and martial law in an attempt to contain the unrest,XINHUA.

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