Sisi: Dam issue can be resolved through political will
The Grand Renaissance dam - REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
By GHADA ATEF

CAIRO: The political impasse of the Renaissance Dam can be solved through “real political will for cooperation,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi told Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Monday in a meeting the presidential palace, said presidential spokesperson Ihab Badawy.

In a press statement, the spokesperson said that the president referred to the Nile River as the lifeline for Egypt and Ethiopia, which he said obligates both countries to work all efforts to improve and develop these relations, adding that the waterway should offer a means of cooperation, not dispute.
“The Grand Renaissance Dam is an issue that needs more transparency and understanding of each sides interests,” said Sisi during the meeting, he added that “Egypt understands the Ethiopian needs for development, but it also needs the Ethiopian understanding for the Egyptian needs of water.”

Adanhom said the Dam is only for generating electricity not for water consumption, and he invited Sisi to visit Ethiopia.

“Although today’s meeting could be considered as a good initiative, the crisis of the Dam is still unresolved, especially with the high rank position’s officials are diplomatically boycotting Egypt,” Nader Nour al-Din, water expert and professor of water resources at Cairo University, told The Cairo Post.

Nour al-Din also said that “there will not be any developing in the Egypt-Ethiopia Dam’s situation unless the Ethiopian side changes its position from the Dam specification, “which apparently they refuse to do.”

He added Ethiopia could use small dams that could reserve 14.5 billion cubic meters, which they could still generate electricity and not effect Egypt’s water share, as the Blue River that came from Ethiopia provides Egypt with at least 85% of its total share.

Nour al-Din added that whatever happens with the Ethiopian dam, and whether both countries reach a solution or not, Egypt must go with Congo River project to compensate the lack of water if Ethiopia insisted on its condition.”

Two months after Hosni Mubarak stepped down in 2011, Ethiopia began building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

Ethiopia has claimed the dam is essential for its development, but a number of Egyptian politicians have said it presents an unacceptable loss of Egypt’s due share of Nile water. Ethiopian experts, however, say that the dam would not result in a significant drop in water levels in the long term.

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