Breakthrough in Egypt-Ethiopia relations after Sisi inauguration
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - AFP

CAIRO: There are indications of a breakthrough in Egyptian-Ethiopian relations following a fallout between the two countries over construction of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam according to Egyptian and Ethiopian sources, Asharq Al-Awsat reported Wednesday.

Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt Mohammed Derir said in an interview with the paper that things are back to normal between the two countries, saying “the water has returned to its regular course.”

Derir added that Addis Ababa has invited Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, the newly elected Egyptian President to visit Ethiopia, and said there would be a meeting between Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit being held in Equatorial Guinea from June 26-27.  Sisi’s attendance at the summit was confirmed by Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia Mohamed Edris, Al-Shorouq reported Wednesday.

On July 5, 2013, the AU froze Egypt’s membership in the union in response to the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi.

However, Edris said the AU Security and Peace Council will decide in a June 25 meeting to repeal freezing Egypt’s membership, so Egypt will have the right to participate in the AU summit beginning the next day.

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome sent a letter to Sisi, congratulating him on winning the presidency and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attended Sisi’s inauguration ceremony on June 8.

Concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which sparked disputes between Egypt and Ethiopia over water rights, as Egypt’s share of Nile water may decrease after the dam is finished, Derir told Asharq Al-Awsat “our relations with Egypt are not limited to the issue of the Renaissance Dam.”

Some estimates indicate the dam is expected to reduce Egypt’s annual share of Nile water by 12 billion cubic meters. Both countries have convened many meetings to ease tensions over the project, but no final solution has been reached.

Ethiopia began construction on the Grand Renaissance Dam two months after former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down in 2011. It is scheduled for completion in 2017.

“As our foreign minister said, there will be a solution in the future,” Derir told Asharq Al-Awsat.

A committee formed last year included Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in discussions to reach a solution over the dam, but its work was stopped after disputes emerged.

However, Adhanom told the state-run MENA news Tuesday that after meetings with Sisi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, they have agreed on resuming political dialogue between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

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