CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is holding negotiations with Ethiopia to carry out a project to get 12 billion cubic meters of water for both countries, said the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hossam Moghazy Sunday.
Sisi will discuss this project with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 26. The talks will continue with an expected visit by Sisi to Addis Ababa, Moghazy said during a workshop organized by the Ministry and an EU delegation to Cairo, Youm7 reported.
The rift between both sides over the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has started to heal following Sisi’s discussions with Desalegn on the sidelines of the 23rd African Union (AU) Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on June 26. Tension had previously arisen between the two countries over fears the dam would reduce Egypt’s flow of the Nile.
As reported widely in the media and made available on YouTube by former President Mohamed Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, Morsi said in a speech at the Popular Conference on Egypt’s Rights to Nile Water in June 2013 that if Egypt’s share of Nile water decreases, “Egyptians’ blood will be the alternative.”
Moghazy said also he would pay a three-day visit to Ethiopia to attend the first meeting of the 12-member National Committee of Experts on the dam, which was organized by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia during the tripartite talks that resumed on Aug. 23 to conduct studies concerning water resources, hydroelectric systems and eco-social and economic effects of the dam, Al-Shorouq newspaper reported.
Moghazy added that Egypt had become aware of Ethiopian plans to build a second dam as well.
“Egypt will not oppose the building of any dam as long as it produces electricity and does not affect the flow of water resources to us,” Moghazy said, offering that Egypt is even ready to provide technical assistance to build the dams.