PM says Ethiopia will not cut Egypt's share of Nile waters

Lester Mason
June 11, 2018

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.

Ahmed's comments came in a press conference with Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo.

"I swear to God that Ethiopia will not do any harm to Egypt's water", Sisi dictates the Ethiopian PM who speaks native Aramaic language, in Arabic, before he starts laughing and applauding Ali.

"We will take care of the Nile and we will preserve your share", Ahmed said.

"We want to forget what was in the past and begin a phase of cooperation".

Egypt has lately been concerned about the effect that an Ethiopian dam being built on the Nile river would have on water flowing to its fields downstream.

"The visit is important because it is the Ethiopian new premier's first visit to Cairo and it will reveal his vision on the dam issue", said Hani Raslan, head of Sudan and Nile Basin studies department at Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

Fitsum Arega, chief of staff to the Ethiopian prime minister, tweeted that the freed prisoners will arrive in Addis Ababa later on Monday.

Egypt has long anxious that Ethiopia's planned Grand Renaissance Dam would reduce the flow of freshwater from the Nile to its territory. They also confirmed that leaders from the three nations will meet every six months for consultations. Ethiopia, which has roughly same population size, says the dam is essential for its economic development.

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

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Ethiopia hopes to be able to export electricity generated by the dam, which will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa.

The main sticking point with Egypt concerns how quickly the reservoir behind the dam is filled, and the impact that will have downstream.

Egyptian presidents in the past have threatened military force in defense of their share of the Nile and against any attempts to build dams on it.

Sudan appears to be taking Ethiopia's side in the negotiations, and has revived a longstanding border dispute with Egypt.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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