Egypt’s president, African Union chair discuss Nile dam
Egypt’s president and the African Union (AU) chairperson discussed on Friday the recent round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the presidency office said.
“The Nile water is an existential issue for the Egyptian people,” Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said during a phone conversation with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, who is in his capacity as the AU chief.
Sisi stressed the importance of forging “a comprehensive legal agreement between all parties concerning the rules for filling and operating the dam,” Egyptian Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady said. Rady reiterated Egyptian rejection for any unilateral measures that would harm Egypt’s rights to the water of the Nile.
For his part, Ramaphosa hailed “the constructive approach Egypt has taken during the recent negotiations to resolve the dispute,” said Rady.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan begun talks on July 3 in a bid to resolve the disagreements over the filling and operation of the mega-dam. The discussions were concluded on Monday without major breakthrough, according to Egypt’s Foreign Ministry statement.
Ethiopia has recently said that it would soon start filling the reservoir, while Egypt has repeatedly warned against any unilateral action without a prior tripartite agreement.
The 4-billion-dollar GERD is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.
Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years. Egypt seeks to prolong the period of filling process to avoid the possible impacts of water shortage, which is the main point of their talks.