Egypt and Ethiopia fend off water wars over Nile mega-dam

Abiy Ahmed _ Egypt

By GCR Staff0 CommentsEthiopia and Egypt vowed yesterday to resolve their differences over Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile that Egypt fears will threaten its water supplies.

For his part, Sisi described Egypt's relations with Ethiopia as "strategic", promising to maintain cooperation with the Ethiopian side for the best interests of both nations.

His remarks came in a joint press conference in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi following their talks on the giant dam that is now being built on the Nile River.

"My government and my people have no intention to harm the people of Egypt and the government of Egypt".

"We will take care of the Nile and we will preserve your share", Ahmed said.

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On May 16, the irrigation ministers of all three countries that share the Nile agreed to establish a scientific study group on how the dam would be filled and agreed to hold meetings every six months on the matter.

Egypt's ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil following an uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. Ethiopia, which has roughly same population size, says the dam is essential for its economic development.

The dam is being built near the Ethiopia-Sudan border and is already 63 percent complete.

"Cairo's weak hand and inability to gain sufficient leverage over Addis Ababa will force it to coordinate dam operations if it wishes to have input on future Nile River projects", it said.

Ethiopia hopes that the Grand Renaissance Dam, now under construction near the Ethiopia-Sudan border can transform it into a key energy hub in Africa. Past Egyptian presidents have warned that any attempt to build dams along the Nile will be met with military action, but Egypt's current leader, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, has ruled that out. The Nile River flows through Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, but the largest share of the river runs through Egyptian territory.

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