“The Ethiopian side should understand that there are 90 million Egyptians who live on the Nile water, which is a life-or-death issue” – Presidential hopeful, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi
By World Bulletin,
EGYPT’s presidential front-runner Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said that he is ready to visit Ethiopia for talks on resolving their Nile water dispute.
“Dialogue and understanding are the best way to resolve the crisis,” al-Sisi said in an interview with the state-run Al-Ahram daily on Saturday.
“This is better than going into a dispute or an enmity with anyone,” he added.
The former army chief, who led the army to unseat elected president Mohamed Morsi last July, said that he is ready to visit Ethiopia “if this serves Egypt’s interests”.
“I will not hesitate in making any effort for my country and its water rights, which is a life-or-death issue,” he added.
Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia’s plans to build a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt’s primary water source.
The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of river water. Ethiopia, for its part, says it has never recognized the treaty.
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Egypt’s PM Speaks about Ethiopian Dam
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said on Saturday the government has many solutions to solve differences with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam issue and that his visits to many African countries might be helpful.
“Ethiopia has the right to develop its country, but also the Egyptian people has the right to live,” said Mahlab.
The Grand Renaissance Dam, currently under construction, is situated near the Sudanese border on the Blue Nile — a main Nile tributary. It is set to be the biggest hydroelectric dam in Africa, producing as much as 6,000 megawatts of energy.
Egypt has repeatedly expressed concern that the dam will affect its share of Nile water. Ethiopia insists this will not happen.