Israel denies providing air defense systems to protect Ethiopia's disputed Nile dam

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-23 03:03:44|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

CAIRO, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Tuesday denied press reports that it installed air defense systems to protect the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that Ethiopia is building on the Nile river.

"There have been some rumors recently that Israeli air defense systems are being used to protect Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam... these are just rumors," the Israeli embassy in Cairo posted on its official Facebook page.

Despite the good relations with Ethiopia, the embassy said, Israel stands at the same distance from both countries "as relations with Egypt are at their best."

The Israeli embassy added that Israel hopes the dispute over the GERD between Egypt and Ethiopia would be resolved.

Israeli media outlets recently said tension between Israel and Egypt has been high after Israel allegedly installed air defense systems around the GERD.

Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the Nile for 90 percent of its fresh water, is concerned that the construction of the GERD might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the river water.

Ethiopia started building the dam in 2011, which is expected to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become the largest hydropower dam in Africa upon completion.

On Oct. 13, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said he would meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Russia to discuss the dam dispute.

He noted that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have not reached an agreement on the rules of the filling and operation of the dam, but adding that dialogue can solve differences.

On Oct. 11, Sisi and Ahmed highlighted during a phone conversation the importance of overcoming all obstacles facing the tripartite negotiations over the GERD.

The two leaders agreed that an agreement should be reached that fulfills the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia within the framework of the Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries in 2015.

The last round of talks on the GERD held by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Oct. 5 failed to reach a solution, with Egypt blaming Ethiopia for "rejecting all proposals that would help Egypt avoid serious harms caused by the construction of the dam."