Daily Archives: June 27, 2020

Nile Countries Agree to Restart Talks Over Disputed Dam

The leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed late Friday to return to talks aimed at reaching an accord over the filling of Ethiopia’s new hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, according to statements from the three nations.

 

Early Saturday, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water and energy minister, confirmed that the countries had decided during an African Union summit to restart stalled negotiations and finalize an agreement over the contentious mega-project within two to three weeks, with support from the AU.

However, Bekele told VOA’s Horn of Africa service later Saturday that the filling of the dam would go forward next month regardless of the outcome of the talks. He said the filling of the dam “depends on the completion of works, not on an agreement between the countries.”

Bekele added that work on the dam is almost completed and said, “No one can impose its will on an independent country.”

The announcement of an AU summit offered a modest reprieve from weeks of bellicose rhetoric and escalating tensions over the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia had vowed to start filling at the start of the rainy season in July.

Egypt and Sudan said Ethiopia would refrain from filling the dam next month until the countries reached a deal. Ethiopia did not comment explicitly on the start of the filling period.

Ethiopia has hinged its development ambitions on the colossal dam, describing it as a crucial lifeline to bring millions out of poverty.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies and already faces high water stress, fears a devastating impact on its booming population of 100 million. Sudan, which also depends on the Nile for water, has played a key role in bringing the two sides together after the collapse of U.S.-mediated talks in February.

Just last week, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew warned that his country could begin filling the dam’s reservoir unilaterally, after the latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan failed to reach an accord governing how the dam will be filled and operated.

After an AU video conference chaired by South Africa late Friday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said that “all parties” had pledged not to take “any unilateral action” by filling the dam without a final agreement, said Bassam Radi, Egypt’s presidency spokesman.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok also indicated the impasse between the Nile basin countries had eased, saying the nations had agreed to restart negotiations through a technical committee with the aim of finalizing a deal in two weeks. Ethiopia won’t fill the dam before inking the much-anticipated deal, Hamdok’s statement added.

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said the countries “agreed to an AU-led process to resolve outstanding issues,” without elaborating.

Sticking points in the talks have been how much water Ethiopia will release downstream from the dam if a multi-year drought occurs and how Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resolve any future disagreements.

Both Egypt and Sudan have appealed to the U.N. Security Council to intervene in the years-long dispute and help the countries avert a crisis. The council is set to hold a public meeting on the issue Monday.

Filling the dam without an agreement could bring the stand-off to a critical juncture. Both Egypt and Ethiopia have hinted at military steps to protect their interests, and experts fear a breakdown in talks could lead to open conflict.

 

Source: Voice of America

Flight Departs UK to Deliver Virus Aid to Africa

Britain’s Royal Air Force says the first in a series of flights taking coronavirus aid to Africa has departed for Ghana with materials for a field hospital with capacity for nearly 100 people.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that Britain is the first NATO ally to come forward with an aid flight after NATO agreed to support the United Nations’ appeal for airlift assistance.

The pandemic and travel restrictions have severely affected flights to the African continent and the delivery of crucial cargo including medical supplies.

Britain. says up to five flights are needed to deliver the field hospital to Accra. Ghana has more than 15,000 confirmed virus cases.

 

Source: Voice of America

De Havilland Canada Delivers First Dash 8-400 Aircraft to TAAG Angola Airlines

  • Introduction of fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft will support the growth of TAAG’s network
  • Images and a video relating to this release will be available at https://dehavilland.com/en/media

TORONTO, June 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (“De Havilland Canada”) today delivered the first of six Dash 8-400 aircraft to TAAG Angola Airlines E.P (“TAAG”), the state-owned, national airline of Angola. The order was disclosed on June 18, 2019 during a ceremonial signing event at the Paris Air Show that was attended by the Honorable Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, Minister of Transportation, Angola, David Curtis, Chairman, Longview Aviation Capital and Todd Young, Chief Operating Officer, De Havilland Canada.

“We selected the Dash 8-400 aircraft to support our development of a stronger domestic network and also to support our regional and international networks,” said Rui Carreira, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, TAAG Angola Airlines. “With our acceptance of our first Dash 8-400 aircraft, we are continuing to implement our restructuring strategy and enhancing our service to smaller communities.  The Dash 8-400 aircraft is well known for its comfortable passenger amenities, operational versatility and outstanding economics, which will be critical for TAAG’s operations where large aircraft are not economical.  We look forward to its introduction to our fleet and to the diligent, ongoing support of De Havilland Canada’s teams as we build our network.”

“We are delighted to announce that TAAG has taken delivery of its first Dash 8-400 aircraft which was completed through a delegated delivery process,” said Mr. Young. “Amidst the current health restrictions facing many countries and the need for efficient regional aircraft to restart air services, we have developed a remote delivery process to support our customers’ recovery efforts. Regional aircraft are proving to be the most important tools to support market recovery and De Havilland Canada’s teams are standing ready to provide ongoing service solutions to support TAAG’s success.

“The Dash 8-400 aircraft has proven its reliability and flexibility in Africa’s most challenging environments, including the hot and sandy regions in North Africa and the Ethiopian Highlands. The aircraft’s hot and high operational capability, along with its jet-like speed and comfort — while retaining turboprop economics — are well suited for Africa and contribute to the aircraft’s diverse customer base. We are confident that the Dash 8-400 aircraft is ideally suited to meet and exceed TAAG’s requirements, and welcome the airline to our family of more than 70 customers and operators – many of whom are currently using the Dash 8-400 aircraft to restart flying and deliver essential goods and transport during the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Mr. Young.

About De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited
With its acquisition of the Dash 8 aircraft program, Longview Aviation Capital has proudly relaunched De Havilland Canada, one of Canada’s most iconic brands. De Havilland Canada’s portfolio includes support to the worldwide fleet of Dash 8-100/200/300/400 aircraft, as well as production and sales of the Dash 8-400 aircraft. With its low carbon footprint and operating costs, industry-leading passenger experience and jet-like performance, the Dash 8-400 aircraft, which seats up to 90 passengers, is the environmentally responsible choice for operators seeking optimal performance on regional routes.  https://dehavilland.com

De Havilland, Dash 8, Dash 8-100/200/300 and Dash 8-400 are trademarks of De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited.

Philippa King, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, philippa.king@dehavilland.com, +1 416 375 3062