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Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Egypt's Sisi, Ethiopian PM to meet in Moscow to discuss GERD issue

Ahram Online , Sunday 13 Oct 2019
GERD
File Photo: A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region in this March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has announced that he will meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Moscow to continue discussions on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In a televised talk during the Armed Forces' 31st cultural symposium, El-Sisi said that many of the statements made about the dam issue by social media users are "exaggerated." He called on all Egyptians to deal with the issue is a calm, wise, and balanced way.

"The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan met in March 2015 and agreed on some principals regarding the filling and running of the dam in a way that does no harm to Egypt," the president noted.

El-Sisi also said that "if what took place in 2011 hadn't occurred, we would have reached a consensual solution on the GERD and the matter would have been much easier," referring to Egypt's January Revolution of 2011.

El-Sisi pointed out that the state has developed an inclusive plan since 2014 to solve Egypt's water problem, pointing out that EGP 200 billion have been spent on water recycling and desalination plants.

The president also asserted that this sum will increase by EGP 70 or 80 billion next year, and is expected to hit EGP 900 billion by 2037.

On Friday, the Ethiopian PM called El-Sisi to thank him for his congratulations for the Ethiopian leader receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

During the call, the two leaders stressed "the importance of overcoming any obstacles to the GERD negotiations in order to reach an agreement that fulfils the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of the three countries, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia," according to statement by the presidency.

Tensions have been building up between Egypt and Ethiopia over the past few weeks after talks failed to make progress on the technical details regarding the operation of the mega-dam that Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile.

Earlier this month, Egyptian officials said that talks over the matter had reached a deadlock and called for international mediation. Ethiopia has dismissed the calls for mediation, saying it has faith in the trilateral negotiations.

Egypt fears the dam will reduce its water supply, which is dependent on the Nile.

Ethiopia maintains that the hydroelectric dam will not restrict the river’s flow and hopes the mega-project will turn it into a regional power hub.

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