Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Egypt said it had summoned Ethiopia’s charges d’affairs in Cairo to provide clarifications on statements attributed to the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson as the two countries are locked in a long-standing row over a Nile dam.

“These statements touch on the internal Egyptian scene,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said without elaborating.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti had reportedly criticised Egypt’s stance towards a disputed dam constructed by his country on the Nile. Mufti, an ex-Ethiopian ambassador to Egypt, claimed it manipulated the project to distract attention from internal problems.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been engaged in years-long negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Round of talks

In July, the three riparian countries started a new round of talks sponsored by the African Union without making any headway so far.

Egyptian officials have repeatedly blamed Ethiopia for the deadlock and accused Addis Ababa of playing for time.The Ethiopian dam has triggered wide fears in Egypt, which relies heavily on the Nile to cover the water needs of its population of over 100 million people.

Ethiopia has repeatedly denied Egyptians’ worries and defended its construction of the 5-billion-dollar dam as being vital for its development and lifting its population of around 107 million out of poverty.