File Photo: Ethiopia's Parliament Speaker Abadula Gemeda (L) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) (Photo Courtesy of Ethiopian Foreign Affairs account on Twitter)
Addis Ababa will not allow Egypt and its people to suffer from negative effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopia’s parliament speaker Abadula Gemeda assured an Egyptian MP during a Pan-African Parliament meeting in South Africa’s Johannesburg.
Gemeda said that negotiations related to the GERD are moving in the right direction, according to statements reported by state-owned MENA news agency.
The speaker's statements were announced by Egyptian political aide to the Pan-African parliament’s speaker and parliament member Mustafa El-Gendy.
El-Gendy said that Ethiopia’s parliamentary speaker praised the role that the Egyptian leadership -- led by president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi -- was playing in the African continent, adding that Ethiopia’s leadership and people cannot forget El-Sisi’s historic visit and speech in front of the Ethiopian parliament.
In March 2015, El-Sisi emphasised in front of the Ethiopian parliament that Egypt is keen to avoid conflict and move ahead towards development and prosperity in cooperation with Ethiopia.
“Egypt wants to turn the page in the history of relations between the two countries and establish a basis for mutual interest,” El-Sisi said during his speech.
He added that Gemeda hailed the “special” and historical relationship between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Gemeda elaborated that both Egypt and Ethiopia were nations who are the “sons of one river”, making their relationship more special than relationships with other countries.
Egypt is set to host the upcoming meeting of the Pan-African Parliament next October.
The GERD, a giant hydroelectric dam project undertaken by Ethiopia, has been the source of contention between Cairo and Addis Ababa. Egypt, which relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming and drinking water, fears the dam would significantly diminish its share of the river's water.
Ethiopia insists it will not negatively affect the North African country’s share of Nile water.
According to the Ethiopian envoy to Cairo Mahmoud Dreir, a sixth summit on a "presidential level" between Egypt and Ethiopia will be held in the coming months.
No date has been announced yet for the summit that will be hosted by Egypt.