Ethiopia's newly appointed prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, said that the controversial dam his country is building on the Nile will not harm Egypt's share of water supplies.
Egypt relies almost totally on the Nile for irrigation and drinking water, and says it has "historic rights" to the river, guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959.
The country further insists the Grand Renaissance Dam will reduce its water supplies from the Nile, and talks on the issue involving Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been deadlocked for months.
We are assured that the share of Sudan and Egypt in Nile water is completely guaranteed, Ahmed said.
"We don't have any intention to harm Sudan or Egypt," the PM told reporters in Khartoum after meeting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
"In our opinion, utilization of Nile would benefit the three countries with insignificant harm," Ahmed said.
"The most important thing is to reduce, to minimize the downside of the project and we are doing that in a very responsible manner."
Ethiopia began building the $4-billion dam in 2012, but the mega project has triggered tensions primarily with Egypt as Cairo fears that once commissioned the dam will reduce its water supplies.
Cairo argues that the treaties grant it 87 percent of the Nile's flow, as well as the power to veto upstream projects. It fears any reduction of water supplies to the biggest Arab country will affect its agriculture.
Egypt is primarily concerned at the speed at which the dam's reservoir would be filled.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team