Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks during a news conference (Photo: Reuters)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has said that Egypt seeks formal agreements with Ethiopia to cement the East African country’s assurances that the dam it is building on the main tributary of Egypt’s Nile would not be exploited for political purposes.
Egypt fears that the filling process for the $4 billion hydroelectric Grand Renaissance Dam could threaten its Nile water supply, which is Egypt’s main source of water.
"We want to turn Ethiopia's good intentions into concrete agreements," El-Sisi was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA during a meeting with local and foreign media representatives in Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday.
He added that Cairo seeks guarantees that filling the dam will not affect Egypt's water share and that the project "will not be used for political objectives."
The president said the new Ethiopian leadership has shown "positive signs" in this regard, referring to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came in to office in April.
Technical committees from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, which supports the dam project, have not reached an agreement regarding the filling process.
Ethiopia maintains that the 6,000 megawatt dam, which it hopes will make it the continent’s biggest power exporter, will not harm Egypt.
In August, Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed said that the dam, initially planned to be completed by 2020, would be delayed for several years.