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Egypt’s foreign minister delivers message to DRC’s president on disputed Nile dam

The move is part of a push by Egypt to drum up support for its position in its dispute with Ethiopia

Ahram Online , Friday 20 Mar 2020
 FM Shoukry
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Thursday handed over a message to Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi over a disputed dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile (Photo: Official Egypt MFA Spokesperson in Twitter)
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Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Thursday handed over a message to Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi over a disputed dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile, the ministry said.

The message, from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, is the latest in a series of such letters Egypt has sent to African and Arab leaders in recent days as part of efforts to drum up support in its row with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

During their talks in Congo, the two men discussed developments in the course of negotiations over the $4.8 billion mega-dam.

Shoukry stressed his country’s “desire to reach a fair and balanced agreement” with Ethiopia and with Sudan, another downstream country, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Shoukry delivered similar letters to officials in Rwanda and Tanzania, which he visited as part of his ongoing African tour.

Tensions escalated between Egypt and Ethiopia after Addis Ababa skipped the latest round of US-brokered talks on the mega-dam in Washington last month, where a deal on the filling and operation of the under-construction dam was being discussed.

An agreement drafted by the US during the talks, based on proposals from the three countries, was initialled only by Egypt.

Ethiopia and Sudan have not signed the agreement.

Ethiopia denied there was a deal and described the US push to resolve the dispute with Egypt as “undiplomatic,” after the US Treasury Department called on Addis Ababa to sign the deal "at the earliest possible time."

Egypt fears the massive dam, which is now about 70 percent complete, will restrict the flow of Nile water, on which it is almost entirely dependent for freshwater.

Ethiopia says the GERD, which will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, is key to its development plans and its efforts to pull millions of its citizens out of poverty.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew said earlier this week that his country demands "serious and fair" talks to return to the negotiating table.

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