Egypt's Sisi sends message to France's Macron on Nile dam negotiations

Ahram Online , Friday 13 Mar 2020

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry handed a message to his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on the latest developments of Ethiopia's disputed Nile dam project during a meeting in Paris on Friday, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The message from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is meant to be delivered to French President Emmanuel Macron.

During the talks, Shoukry called on France and the EU countries to "push Ethiopia to sign an agreement on the filling and operation of dam in order to preserve security and stability" in the African region, the ministry said.

Earlier this week, Shoukry delivered similar messages on the controversial giant dam to Arab leaders in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and Bahrain - in an effort to drum up support for Cairo in the diplomatic row.

Tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia mounted last month after Addis Ababa withdrew from the latest round of US-sponsored talks, which were expected to generate a final deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, another downstream country, over the filling and operation of the dam. The deal, drafted by the US, which is mediating the talks, was initialled by Egypt but not signed by the other two states.

Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion mega-dam on the Blue Nile, which has been under construction since 2011 and is now 70 percent complete, will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.

Cairo fears the dam will diminish its water supply from the Nile, on which it relies for the vast majority of its fresh water. 

During the Paris talks, the French and Egyptian ministers also discussed bilateral ties, international counter-terrorism efforts, as well as security and stability in the Middle East region.


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