CAIRO: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour Sunday to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD,) said presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef in a statement.
“Sisi underscored the importance of reaching joint understanding to preserve the rights of the three countries and their peoples and to realize common gains. This should include the right to life for the Egyptian people, given that the Nile River constitutes their only source of water,” Youssef said.
President Sisi stressed on taking serious steps in light of the “Declaration of Principles” agreement signed in March 2015 by Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the controversial GERD, as it guarantees the dam should not represent dangers or harms on the Nile’s downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan.)
Egypt has raised its concerns over the under-construction dam, located on the Blue Nile, as it is feared to negatively affect its water supply. Ethiopia has emphasized that the dam is necessary for its development; both states and Sudan agreed on tripartite talks that kicked off in August 2014.
“Ghandour affirmed Sudan’s commitment to not cause any harm to Egypt’s water rights, to preserve common interests of the three countries and to maintain the rights of their peoples to life and development,” Youssef continued.
The meeting came after Ethiopia rejected Egypt’s proposal to increase the number of outlets at the dam to allow water flow to the downstream countries.
During his visit to Cairo, Ghandour held several meetings with Egyptian officials, including his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on the disputed border Halayebb and Shalateen Triangle, saying this issue should be solved through dialogue.
The border dispute is due to conflicting maps drawn by British occupation forces; one in 1899 indicates that the triangle falls within Egyptian territories and the second in 1902, showing the area inside the Sudanese borders, Minya University Nubian history professor Fathy Khourshid previously told The Cairo Post.
The Halayeb Triangle is a 20-km2 enclave on the Red Sea coast, inhabited by tribes from both Egypt and Sudan who have traditionally lived there before the demarcation of borders. Since the Sudanese independence in 1956, Egypt and Sudan have been locked in a border dispute over the area.