Ethiopia plans to build two dams in the Nile basin and two others elsewhere, says Foreign Minister Meles Zenawi. Interviewed in the Arabic daily Al Hayat, he stressed that his country was desperate for energy and had vast potential — surpassed only by Zaire — for generating hydroelectricity. Zenawi was speaking at a time of mounting tension between Ethiopia and Egypt and other Nile Basin states over the sharing of the river Nile’s waters.

The new hydroelectric dams, which would be built using local resources, would not affect the flow of the Nile, Zenawi said. He expressed his opposition to the Egyptian position on the Nile issue, which appeared to imply that only Egypt and Sudan were entitled to share Nile waters. He also criticised those who, he said, followed a short-sighted policy of assuming that Ethiopia would never be able to raise the finance to exploit the Nile.