Ethiopian government denies signing deal on construction of pipeline

Ethiopian government denies signing deal on construction of pipeline President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at State House in Nairobi on June 23, 2016.

The Ethiopian government has clarified that an oil pipeline deal it signed with Kenya was only a commitment by both sides to assess the feasibility of the project, an Ethiopian newspaper reported on Saturday.

The country’s ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas denied inking a formal agreement on constructing a pipeline, contradicting an announcement on the matter by State House in Nairobi.

“We did not sign a pipeline construction deal. This is utterly an erroneous report,” the minister, Tolossa Shagi, told The Reporter.

Mr Shagi said: “We have agreed to take some time to assess the matter. We will hold more talks and may ink a deal if we find the project proposal economically and technically sound. But I can confirm to you that we did not sign a pipeline construction agreement”.

According to the minister, Kenya had presented the idea of a pipeline to his government, with Addis Ababa agreeing to assess its potential before committing to constructing it.

This contradicts what State House announced late last month when Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn visited Nairobi.

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