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Egypt’s president says Ethiopian dam will benefit millions

CAIRO,(The Southern African Times) – Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Wednesday that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a matter of presence that impacts the life of millions of Egyptians, the presidency office said in a statement.

“I confirm the necessity of reaching as soon as possible a legally binding deal that organizes the process of filling and operating the GERD,” Sisi said in a meeting with the visiting Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

The deal should be reached far from any unilateral approach that seeks imposition of the Fait accompli and negligence of the basic rights of the people, the statement added.

The two leaders discussed means of promoting the ongoing cooperation in the field of irrigation and the water resources as well as the joint efforts of maximizing the sustainable benefits of the Nile River, it added.

Sisi asserted Egypt’s vision of making the Nile River a source of cooperation and development, and an artery of life for all the Nile basin people, according to the statement.

Egypt and Sudan agreed on forming a quartet committee that involves the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and the United States, a proposal that has been rejected by Ethiopia.

Local media reported that the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will meet next week in Abu Dhabi to ease the iced negotiations.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water. Sudan has recently been raising similar concerns over the 4-billion-U.S.-dollar dam as a “direct threat” to Sudan’s national security.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the GERD, with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, have been fruitless, including the early ones hosted by Washington and the recent ones by the African Union.

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