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Gambella’s Life in land Grabbing

By Graham Peebles

To many people land is much more than a resource or corporate commodity to be bought developed and sold for a profit. Identity, cultural history and livelihood are all connected to ‘place’. The erosion of traditional values and morality (which include the observation of human rights and environmental responsibility) are some of the many negative effects of the global neo-liberal economic model, with its focus on short-term gain and material benefit. The commercialization of everything and everybody has become the destructive goal of multi-nationals, and their corporate governments manically driven by the desire for perpetual growth as the elixir to life’s problems.

Land for profit

Since the ‘food crisis in 2008’ agricultural land in developing countries has been in high demand. Seen as a sound financial investment by foreign brokers and agrochemical firms, and as a way to create food security for their home market by corporations from Asia and the Middle East in particular.

Three quarters of worldwide land acquisitions have taken place in Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty ridden and economically vulnerable countries (many run by governments with poor human rights records) are ‘encouraged’ to attract foreign investment by donor partners and their international guides. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor partners, powerful institutions that by “supporting the creation of investment-friendly climates and land markets in developing countries” have been a driving force behind the global rush for agricultural land, the Oakland Institute (OI) report in Unheard Voices (UV)[i].

Poor countries make easy pickings for multi-nationals negotiating deals for prime land at giveaway prices and with all manner of government sweeteners. Contracts sealed without consultation with local people, which lack transparency and accountability, have virtually no benefit for the ‘host’ country (certainly none for indigenous groups), and as Oxfam[ii] make clear “have resulted in dispossession, deception, violation of human rights and destruction of livelihoods”.

Ethiopia is a prime target for investors looking to acquire agricultural land. Since 2008 The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) government has leased almost 4 million hectares, for commercial farm ventures. Land is cheap – they are virtually giving it away, tax is non-existent and profits (like the food grown) are smoothly repatriated. Local people are swept aside by a government unconcerned with human rights and the observation of federal, or international, law. A perfect environment then, where shady deals can be done and large corporate profits made. In their desperation to be seen as one of the ‘growth gang’ and “to make way for agricultural land investments”, the Ethiopian government has “committed egregious human rights abuses, in direct violation of international law,” OI state.

Forced from home

Bordering South Sudan the fertile Gambella region (where 42% of land is available), with its lush vegetation and flowing rivers, is where the majority of land sales in the country have taken place. Deals in the region are made possible by the EPRDF’s ‘villagisation programme’. This is forcibly clearing indigenous people off ancestral land and herding them into State created villages. The plan has been intensely criticised by human rights groups, and rightly so – 1.5 million people nationwide are destined to be re-settled, 225,000 (over three years) from Gambella.

More concerned to be seen as corporate buddy than guardian of the people, the Ethiopian government guarantees investors that it will clear land leased of everything and everyone. It has an obligation, OI says, to “deliver and hand over the vacant possession of leased land free of impediments”, swept clear of people, villages, forests and wildlife, and fully plumbed into local water supplies. Bulldozers are destroying the “farms, and grazing lands that have sustained Anuak, Mezenger, Nuer, Opo, and Komo peoples for centuries”, Cultural Survival (CS)[iii] records: and dissent, should it occur, is brutally dealt with by the government, that promises to “provide free security against any riot, disturbance or any turbulent time”. (OI) ‘Since you do not accept what government says, we jail you.’” The elder told from Batpul village told Human Rights Watch (HRW) [iv]. He was jailed without charge in Abobo, and held for more than two weeks, during which time “they turned me upside down, tied my legs to a pole, and beat me every day for 17 days until I was released”.

Hundreds of thousands of villagers, including pastoralists and indigenous people are being forcibly moved by the regime, HRW reports, they are “relocating them through violence and intimidation, and often without essential services,” such as education (denying children ‘the right to education’), water, and health care facilities – public services promised to the people and championed to donor countries by the government in their programme rhetoric.

Murder, rape, false imprisonment and torture are (reportedly) being committed by the Ethiopian military as they implement the federal governments policy of land clearance and re-settlement in accordance with its villagisation programme. ”My village was forced by the government to move to the new location against our will. I refused and was beaten and lost my two upper teeth”. This Anuak man told the NGO Inclusive Development International (IDI)[v], His brother “was beaten to death by the soldiers for refusing to go to the new village. My second brother was detained and I don’t know where he was taken by the soldiers”.

To the Anuak People, who are the majority tribal group in the affected areas, their land is who they are. It’s where the material to build their homes is found it’s their source of traditional medicines and food. It’s where their ancestors are buried and where their history rests. By driving these people off their land and into large settlements or camps, the government is not only destroying their homes, in which they have lived for generations, it is stealing their identity. Indigenous people tell of violent intimidation, beatings, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture in military custody, rape and extra-judicial killing. State criminality breaching a range of international and indeed federal laws, that Genocide Watch (GW)[vi] consider “to have already reached Stage 7 (of 8), genocide massacres”, against the Anuak, as well as the people of Oromia, Omo and the Ogaden region.

The Ethiopian government is legally bound to obtain the ‘free, informed and prior consent’ of the indigenous people it plans to move. Far from obtaining consent, Niykaw Ochalla in Unheard Voices, states that, “when [the government] comes to take their land, it is without their knowledge, and in fact [the government] says that they no longer belonged to this land, [even though] the Anuak have owned it for generations”. Consultation, consent and compensation the ‘three c’s required by federal and international law. Constitutional duties and legal requirements, which like a raft of other human rights obligations the regime dutifully ignores. Nyikaw Ochalla confirms that “there is “no consultation at all”, sometimes people are warned they have to move, but just as often OI found the military “instruct people to get up and move the same day”. And individuals receive no compensation “for their loss of livelihood and land”. In extensive research The Oakland Institute “did not find any instances of government compensation being paid to indigenous populations evicted from their lands”, this despite binding legal requirements to do so.

‘Waiting here for death’

The picture of state intimidation in Gambella is a familiar one. Refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, recount stories of the same type of abuse, indeed as do people from Oromia and the Lower Omo valley. Tried and tested Government methodology used to enforce repressive measures and create fear amongst the people. “The first mission for all the military and the Liyuu is to make the people of the Ogaden region afraid of us”, a former commander of the Liyuu police told me. And to achieve this crushing end, they are told “to rape and kill, to loot, to burn their homes, and capture their animals”. From a wealth of information collated by HRW and the OI, it is clear that the Ethiopian military in Gambella is following the same criminal script as their compatriots in the Ogaden region.

We were at home on our farm, a 17-year-old girl from Abobo in Gambella (whose story echoes many), told HRW[vii] “when soldiers came up to us: ‘Do you accept to be relocated or not?’ ‘No.’ So they grabbed some of us. ‘Do you want to go now?’ ‘No.’ Then they shot my father and killed him”; a villager from Gooshini, now in exile in South Sudan, described how those in his settlement “that resisted…. were forced by soldiers to roll around in the mud in a stagnant water pool then beaten”.

The new settlements that make up the villagisation programme, are built on land that is “typically dry and arid”, completely unsuitable for farming and miles from water supplies, which are reserved for the industrial farms being constructed on fertile ancestral land. The result is increased food insecurity leading in some cases to starvation. HRW documented cases of people being forced off their land during the “harvest season, preventing them from harvesting their crops”. With such levels of cruelty and inhumanity the people feel desperate as one displaced individual told Human Rights Watch, “The government is killing our people through starvation and hunger . . . we are just waiting here for death”.

And should families try to leave the new settlement (something they are discouraged from doing) and return to their village homes, the government destroys them totally, burning houses and bulldozing the land. “The government brought the Anuak people here to die. They brought us no food, they gave away our land to the foreigners so we can’t even move back,” HRW record in ‘Waiting Here for Death’[viii]. People forced into the new villages are fearful of government assault, parents “are afraid to send their children to school because of the increased army presence. Parents worry that their children will be assaulted”. (UV)

In the face of such government atrocities the people feel powerless; but like many suffering injustice throughout the world, they are awakening demanding justice and the observation of fundamental human rights. “We don’t have any means of retrieving our land” Mr.O from the village of Pinykew in Gambella, told The Guardian (22/01/2013)[ix]. “Villagers have been butchered, falsely arrested and tortured, the women subjected to mass rape”. Enraged by such atrocities, he is bringing what could be a landmark legal case against Britain’s Department for International Development (DfiD). Leigh Day & Co, solicitors based in London, have taken the case, “arguing that money from DfiD is funding the villagisation programme”, that “breaches the department’s own human rights policies.” DfiD administer the £324 million given by the British government to Ethiopia, making it the biggest recipient of aid from the country. They deny supporting forced re-location, but their own documents reveal British funds are paying the salaries “of officials implementing the programme and for infrastructure in new villages”, The Daily Mail 25/05/2013 [x] reports. Allegations reinforced by HRW, who state that “British aid is having an enormous, negative side effect – and that is the forcible ending of these indigenous people’s way of life.” (Ibid)

In an account that rings with familiarity, Mr.O, now in Dadaab refugee camp, says he was forced from his village at gunpoint by the military. At first he refused to leave, so “soldiers from the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) beat me with guns.” He was arrested, imprisoned in military barracks and tortured for three days, after which time he was taken to the new village, which “did not have water, food or productive fields”, where he was forced to build his house.

Government duplicity donor complicity

The government unsurprisingly denies all allegations of widespread human rights abuse connected with land deals and the ‘villagisation programme’ specifically. They continue to espouse the ‘promised public service and infrastructure benefits’ of the scheme that “by and large” OI assert, “have failed to materialise”. The regime is content to ignore documentation provided by human rights groups and NGOs and until recently had refused to cooperate with an investigation by the World Bank into allegations of abuse raised by indigenous Anuak people. The Bank incidentally that gives Ethiopia more financial aid than any other developing country, $920 million last year alone. Former regional president Omod Obang Olum oversaw the plan in Gambella and assures us resettlement is “voluntary” and “the programme successful”. Predictable duplicitous comments that IDI said “are laughable.”

An independent non-profit group working to advance human rights in development, IDI, has helped the Anuak people from Gambella “submit a complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel implicating the Bank in grave human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ethiopian Government“. The complaint alleges, “that the Anuak people have been severely harmed by the World Bank-financed and administered Providing Basic Services Project (PBS)”. A major development porgramme which is described as “expanding access and improving the quality of basic services in education, health, agriculture, water supply and sanitation”, OI report[xi]. However IDI make clear that “villagisation is the principle vehicle through which PBS is being implemented in Gambella”, and claim “there is “credible evidence” of “gross human rights violations” being committed in the region by the Ethiopian military. Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that donors are “paying for the construction of schools, health clinics, roads, and water facilities in the new [resettlement] villages. They are also funding agricultural programs directed towards resettled populations and the salaries of the local government officials who are implementing the policy”. (Ibid)

IDI’s serious allegations further support those made by many people from the region and Mr.O in his legal action against the DfID. The Banks inspection panel have said the “two programmes (PBS and villagisation) depend one each other, and may mutually influence the results of the other.” The panel found “there is a plausible link between the two programmes but needs to engage in further fact-finding”. It is imperative the bank’s Inspection Panel have unrestricted access to Gambella and people feel safe to speak openly about the governments brutality.

All groups involved in land sales have both a moral duty – a civil responsibility – and a legal obligation to the people whose land is being leased. The Ethiopian government, the foreign corporations leasing the land and the donors – the World Bank and DfID, who, through PBS are funding the villagisation programme.

The Ethiopian government is in violation of a long list of international treatise that, in- keeping with their democratic pretentions, they are happy to sign up to, but less enthusiastic to observe. From the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and all points legal in between. Investors if not legally obliged, are certainly morally bound by the United Nations (UN) “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework,[xii] which, amongst other things, makes clear their duty to respect and work within human rights. Donor’s responsibility first and last is, to the people of Ethiopia, to ensure any so-called ‘development’ programmes (that commonly focus on economic targets), support their needs, ensures their wellbeing and observes their fundamental human rights.

To continue to turn a blind eye to widespread government abuse, and to support schemes, whether directly or indirectly, that violate human rights and cause suffering to the people is to be complicit to State criminality that is shattering the lives of hundreds of thousands of indigenous people, in Gambella and indeed elsewhere in the country.

Endnotes

[i] http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/unheard-voices-human-rights-impact-land-investments-indigenous-communities-gambella
[ii] http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/land-and-power-the-growing-scandal-surrounding-the-new-wave-of-investments-in-l-142858
[iii] http://www.culturalsurvival.org/take-action/ethiopia-stop-land-grabbing-and-restore-indigenous-peoples-lands/ethiopia-stop-land
[iv] http://www.hrw.org/node/109149
[v] http://www.inclusivedevelopment.net/ethiopia-gambella-villagization-program/
[vi] http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopia.html
[vii] http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/28/ethiopia-army-commits-torture-rape
[viii] http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia0112webwcover_0.pdf
[ix] http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jan/22/ethiopia-resettlement-scheme-lives-shattered
[x] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2330911/UK-foreign-aid-Ethiopian-sues-Britain-claiming-1-3billion-programme-supports-Stalinist-regime-sent-worlds-biggest-refugee-camp.html#ixzz2UQj1KeIn
[xi] Development Assistance Group Ethiopia, PBS, http://www.dagethiopia.org/ndex.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=14&Item#sthash.5onLgZIf.dpuf (accessed May 2013).
[xii] http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/…/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf

– See more at: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/29243-land-in-gambella.html#sthash.KSyJ2R3d.dpuf

10 things that make Ethiopia extraordinary and 10 things that makes Ethiopia Extraordinarily sad !

Fairy tale castles, superb coffee and the Ark of the Covenant (OK, possibly) are just some of the unexpected attractions of this African country

By Oliver Robinson, for CNN 20 July, 2013Ethiopian vista

Freebies on an Ethiopian road trip: the extraordinary views around every corner.

What sets Ethiopia apart from its African neighbors?

The excellent coffee?

The fact that it was never colonized?

Or that Rastafarians regard it as their spiritual home?

Or could it be the smooth, well-maintained roads, so rare on the continent, that make exploring the country by car such a joy?

After a 1,430-kilometer drive through Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit — up mountains, through Martian-like landscapes, into lost kingdoms of yore — we found 10 crucial things that define the country.

1. The best Italian restaurant in the world (according to Bob Geldof, anyway)

The buzzing bedlam of Mahatma Gandhi Street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is the setting for Castelli’s — arguably the best Italian restaurant this side of Bologna.

An Italian soldier, Francesco Castelli, founded the modest-looking eatery at the end of WWII. Since then it’s gained a global profile thanks to endorsement from celebrity diners such as Bob Geldof, Bono and Brad and Angelina.

But, high-profile praise aside, it’s the food that makes Castelli’s worth a visit before setting off from Addis into the Ethiopian wilds.

Ristorante Castelli, Mahatma Gandhi Street, Addis Ababa; +251 1 563 580, +251 1 571 757

2. Italian-style coffee

Like great Italian food, coffee is one of the legacies of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia during WWII.

While Mussolini’s men proved inept colonists (the Allies defeated them in 1943), their tenure in the country did at least ensure that an Italian-style espresso machine was installed in most cafes, restaurants and — weary travelers will be pleased to know — even dilapidated roadside shacks.

Ethiopians love their coffee and take pride in the fact that the plant’s invigorating effects were first discovered in the Oromia region of the country (see the 2006 documentary Black Gold).

3. Chinese roads

Ethiopian roadMade in China. Actually made by China. The country is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ethiopia’s infrastructure.Aside from coffee and pasta, Ethiopia excels in roads.

Other African nations have roads — it’s just that few are a patch with those in Ethiopia.

The quality tarmac comes courtesy of huge Chinese investment — in 2009, it was estimated that China had poured $900 million into Ethiopia’s infrastructure, a figure that’s since increased exponentially.

Anyone who’s driven into Ethiopia from Kenya, via the perilous Marsabit route (fraught with bumps, brigands and bandits) will attest what a difference a nice road makes.

Ethiopia’s incredible mountain-top highway vistas don’t hurt, either.

Zanzibar: A very cultural beach holiday

4. Tanks … lots of them

Ethiopia tankSwords into ploughshares … or tanks into unusual climbing frames for kids, in the case of Ethiopia.Don’t worry: unless you get horribly lost and venture into Somalia, the tanks you’ll see along the roadside are burned-out remnants of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War (1998-2000).

Seen throughout the country, these defunct war machines stand as forbidding reminders of Ethiopia’s troubled past — and double as fun climbing frames for local children. (Next door Eritrea is the place to see if you really dig disused materiel.)

5. Underground churches

LalibelaLalibela’s monolithic churches still impress nine centuries later.Ethiopia sags under the weight of its cultural treasures, such as those at the UNESCO World Heritage site Lalibela.

In the late 12th century, Gebre Mesqel Lalibela had 13 churches — Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations — carved out of solid rock.

His achievement (meaning that of his stonemasons and slaves) is still incredibly impressive nine centuries on.

Lalibela — the first major point of interest on the Northern Circuit — is a 10-hour journey from Addis Ababa.

Head north up Route 1, passing through Debre Birhan, Kombolcha and Dessie. At Weldiya, leave the highway and follow the road west to Gashena.

At Gashena, take the road north to Lalibela.

6. Martian landscapes

Danakil Depression“The cruelest place on Earth?” Pretty, though.Located in the tumultuous Afar region on the Eritrean border, the Danakil Depression is strewn with volcanoes and salt lakes and is one of the hottest places on the planet.

So why visit what National Geographic calls “the cruelest place on Earth?”

Well, this also happens to be one of the most arresting natural sights you’ll see in Africa — or anywhere else.

With an unforgiving landscape that’s difficult to navigate, it’s also one of the few places in Ethiopia where you shouldn’t travel alone: most people go with an escort or in a convoy.

Tours can be arranged in Abbis. Reputable agency Ethiopia Travel and Tours (info@ethiotravelandtours.com) charges around $550 for a four-day trip.

7. Men-only monasteries

Debre DamoDebre Damo houses some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa. Gentlemen: you’ll have to describe it to the ladies.Just off the main road between Lalibela and Aksum lies Debre Damo, a monastery that can be reached only by scrambling up a 15-meter-high cliff face.

There is, however, a discriminatory door policy: only men are permitted to make the perilous ascent to the monastery.

That rule doesn’t apply just to female humans — even livestock of the fairer sex apparently risk distracting the monks from holy contemplation.

Gents who brave the climb can enjoy stunning vistas, as well as a chance to eye some of the most ancient Christian scripture in Africa.

Be warned that unofficial “guides” will try to extort inflated fees for their services before letting you back down the cliff — negotiate the charge beforehand.

It’s practical to visit Debre Damo en route to Aksum.

The monastery lies just outside the small town of Bizet, 12 hours’ drive north of Addis and about 50 kilometers west of Adigrat, the last stop on Route 1 before turning west on to Route 15.

Follow the road to Bizet and keep a keen eye out for the turn to Debre Damo on the right.

25 of Africa’s best beaches

8. The Ark of the Covenant

AksumFinal resting place of the Ark of the Covenant? Nice if you could get past the tracksuit guys and see it.The Lost Ark? In Ethiopia?

Someone should have told Indiana Jones that before he set off for Cairo.

According to enthusiastic local sources, the historic town ofAksum — focal point of the Aksumite Empire (AD 100-940) — is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

The catch? No one’s actually allowed to see it.

The closest you can get is by paying a few dollars to one of the tracksuit-clad men posturing as guards outside the temple where the ark is purportedly kept.

Luckily, Aksum is home to plenty of ancient tombs and other monuments, which makes the drive to one of Ethiopia’s northernmost towns worthwhile — ark or not.

Though Aksum can be reached by a small road west of Mek’ele, people wanting to visit Debre Damo monastery as well should take Route 1, turning west on to Route 15 at Adigrat, and join Route 3 at Adwa.

9. Roadside Rastafarians

Rasta child, EthiopiaRastafarian kids in Ethiopia, regarded as the movement’s spiritual home.The Rastafari movement is most often associated with Jamaica, but it was the Ethiopian Haile Selassie who inspired the religion.

Ethiopians are proud of their former ruler’s supposed status as Jesus incarnate and some have adopted the dress and lifestyle habits of their Jamaican counterparts — which makes meeting them in the Simien Mountains all the more bizarre.

The roadside Rastas you’re likely to meet are a friendly bunch, who’ll happily talk you through points of interest in the area (often relating to high cliffs off which Italian soldiers were thrown), as well as hawking red, green and yellow hats and accessories.

10. A fairy tale kingdom

Ethiopian castleEthiopian fairy tale: an imperial castle in Gondar.British and Dutch colonial buildings attract the most architectural attention in east Africa, but Ethiopia again stands out as the only country on the continent with its own fairy tale castles.

Aside from a few eye-catching art deco buildings left over from the Italian occupation, the castles of Fasilides, Iyasu and Mentwab, in the former imperial capital of Gondar, are the structures that stay in the mind.

Gondar is a five-hour drive southwest of Aksum. Follow Route 3 through the Simien Mountains.

A good stopping point is Debark, with its mountain vistas.

What defines Ethiopia to you? Let us know in the comments section.

 

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  • Avatar
    Prof. Muse Tegegne • a few seconds ago

    My 10 Extraordinarily sad  things about Ethiopia :-

    1. Dictatorial Regime,

    2. Land Grabbing while the people are starving,

    3. No Free Press,

    4. All journalists in prison,

    5. No Free & Fare Election,

    6. All land is nationalized like soviet era,

    7. Most of the educated elites are in exile,

    8. Young girls are sold as slaves to the middle East and tortured,

    9. one party system,

    10. All rivers are unnaturally dammed..

  • Avatar
    Alex Tessema • 6 hours ago

    Good presentation of Ethiopia except some of them are not described well. There are a lot of stuffs to talk about the country. It is one of the oldest and beautiful country in Africa with its own unique tradition, nice culture and old history. You could at least mention about that it is the origin of man kind, for eg. you could mention about Lucy. The people’s beauties, specially the ladies beauty, could be mentioned too. You used wrong picture of the roads to describe what chines did. You could show other modern ring roads, bridges and highways to present the correct pictures of the roads. you could state more about Lalibela, Axum, Gonder, or how the economy is changing now etc The other thing is Ethiopia is the origin of coffee not Italy. So don’t relate Ethiopia’s coffee with Italy except their espresso machines.

    I suggest to the word to explore this beautiful country, because most people don’t know about Ethiopia while the country is rich with many historical, cultural and amazing places in the world which need to be visited. The country is just not rich to show what it has to the world.

    But something is better than nothing. CNN at least tried to show the picture of Ethiopia to the world, even if there are many more! Go CNN!

    Visit Ethiopia and do your own judgement!

“Time of Brief Consultation and Studies” Between Egypt & Ethiopia, War Drums on the Nile Part 9,

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to conduct further studies on what impact a hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River will have on downstream countries, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said.

Ethiopia also assured Egypt that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River is being built in a way that will address Egypt’s water-security concerns, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said at a joint press conference with Amr today in Addis Ababa, the capital.

“We are embarking on a period of mutual cooperation,” Amr said. “We’re looking to the future and I think the future will be very good for both of us.”

Ethiopia is building the $4.3 billion, 6,000-megawatt dam about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Sudanese border. The facility is set to be Africa’s largest hydropower plant when it is completed in 2017. A joint panel report finalized last month, which hasn’t been made public, “didn’t clarify in detail the impacts” the dam will have, according to the Egyptian presidency.

The ministers agreed to “immediately initiate consultations among Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on how to move forward” with recommendations, which included further studies, made by the panel last month, they said in a statement handed to reporters.

Friendly Talks

Talks were friendly and Egypt is convinced that Ethiopia is “determined not to hurt” Egypt by blocking vital flows of the Nile River, Amr said.

Ethiopia is the source of 86 percent of the water that flows into the Nile, the world’s longest waterway, which Egypt relies on for almost all its water.

The dam “will only reduce Nile water flow significantly during the stage that the reservoir fills,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn said in a June 13 e-mailed response to questions. The 74 billion cubic-meter dam will be filled in about five to six years, according to Ethiopia’s government.

Tedros will visit Egypt soon to continue discussions, according to the statement.

Ethiopia, Ethiopian, Ethiopianist, Ethiopianity, Ethiopianism September 2012 Newsreel

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