Egypt’s Sisi says reaching comprehensive deal on Ethiopian dam requires political will

Egypt's Sisi says reaching comprehensive deal on Ethiopian dam requires political will

Cairo (UNA-OIC) – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said on Tuesday that Egypt is keen to achieve progress in controversial issues that are essential to reach a balanced agreement on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

President Sisi’s remarks came during a mini-African summit aimed at reaching a deal regarding filling and operation of the dam, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

The summit was convened on Tuesday through video link with the participation of Sisi, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country chairs the current session of the African Union.

During the summit, Sisi stressed that reaching a comprehensive deal on the dam requires a political will to enhance the opportunities and efforts to reach the desired agreement that achieves the common interests of the three countries.

At the end of the summit, it was agreed to continue negotiations and focus for the time being on giving priority to developing a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam, the statement said.

Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan have recently ended a round of talks on the GERD without reaching an agreement on filling the reservoir of the dam on the blue Nile River.

Egypt fears the mega dam will affect its annual share of the Nile’s water, totaling 55.5 billion cubic meters, while the Ethiopia asserts that the $4.7 billion hydropower project will not pose a threat to Sudan and Egypt, the two downstream countries.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is under construction since April 2011 in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, located about 40km east of Sudan, on the Blue Nile River. Aimed primarily at generating power, with an expected capacity of 6,000MW, the main and saddle dams will also create reservoirs with an impounding capacity of 74 billion cubic meters.

AB/UNA-OIC

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