The foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia are meeting in Addis Ababa in an effort to diffuse tensions over a huge dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.

Dina Mufti, a spokesman for the Ethiopia's foreign ministry, says Ethiopia wants Egypt to understand that the dam is not going to harm Egypt "in any way." The two ministers had a news conference scheduled for Monday morning but it was cancelled.

Egypt and Ethiopia began a sharp exchange of words after Ethiopia last month started to divert Nile waters as part of the construction of its massive $4.2 billion hydro-electric project dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt fears the dam will mean a diminished share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation's water needs.