Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Ethiopia Offers Reassurances to Egypt Over Nile Waters

Ethiopia Offers Reassurances to Egypt Over Nile Waters

Egypt's president said both countries are working to achieve a final agreement over the Renaissance Dam that "secures" Egypt's fair share of Nile waters and helps Ethiopia's development.

Egyptian authorities released 32 Ethiopian prisoners on Monday during the visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Cairo, Egyptian and Ethiopian news websites reported.

At Sunday's meeting in Cairo, Ahmed reassured el-Sissi that his country had "no desire to harm the Egyptian people".

The GERD will be Africa's largest dam upon completion with a total volume of 74 billion cubic meters and a construction cost of about 4.7 billion US dollars.

Egypt's share of Nile water sits at 55.5 billion cubic meters, while Sudan's quota is 18.5 billion cubic meters.

Ethiopia's ambassador to Sudan, Mawtada Zoudi, said earlier this month that the construction of the GERD has passed 65% completion.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been holding tripartite talks on the dam following "concerns" from Egypt that the Ethiopian dam project reduces the flow of water to Egypt.

Ethiopia's prime minister has sworn not to "harm" Egypt's share of the Nile, breaking the deadlock in talks over control of Africa's longest river. Ethiopian authorities responded to what was then understood as a form of "threat of war" in like fashion asserting that The Grand Renaissance Dam, estimated to cost well over US$ 5 billion, is a matter of life and death.

The two sides pledged to set up an infrastructure investment fund that would benefit all three countries' development.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will arrive at Cairo International Airport on Sunday morning heading a high-level delegation, Ethiopia's Cairo ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie Amde said.

Egypt's ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil following an uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

But while engaging the Ethiopian government on the matter throughout the year, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has denied that his country would pursue a military option.

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