ADDIS ABABA (Alliance News) - South Sudan and Ethiopia on Tuesday denied reports about a diplomatic crisis over fears that a mega-dam project may also affect farmers in Egypt.
The ongoing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile has provoked concerns that it could reduce the productivity of millions of hectares of farmland further downstream.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir's visit to Egypt in January sparked Ethiopian and South Sudanese media reports that he had agreed to support Ethiopian rebels so they could hamper the construction of the dam.
"I don't think that South Sudan will be happy to see the dam being jeopardized by anybody," said South Sudan's ambassador to Addis Ababa, James Pitia Morgan.
"We need the dam to develop and we aim to import power when it is finished. All in all, South Sudan cannot be a party to destabilize Ethiopia,"Â Morgan told dpa.
South Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mawein Makol Ariik also denied a rift, telling dpa:Â "There is nothing like tension and a row ... as being portrayed in various media outlets."
An Ethiopian Foreign Ministry official, who did not want to be named, denied that there were plans to expel South Sudan's ambassador from Addis Ababa.
The relations between the two countries have been strained by mutual suspicions that they support each other's rebel groups. Ethiopia and South Sudan signed an agreement not to do that last year.
Ethiopia's energy capacity is due to increase to 11,000 megawatts this year with the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, billed as Africa's biggest.