Cairo has received strong assurances from Addis Ababa over the Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on one of the main reaches of the Nile River and Egypt says is threatening its share of water.
“Egypt’s share of the Nile River will be maintained... and even increased,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told a news conference in Cairo on Sunday after talks with President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
For his part, Sisi underlined Egypt’s willingness to promote its investments in Ethiopia.
“Today, I also emphasized to my brother the Prime Minister our priority to activate the agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the establishment of a tripartite fund to finance infrastructure projects to achieve the common interests of the three countries,” the Egyptian president said.
He stressed the need to take “executive measures for the establishment of the fund, based on the meeting to be hosted by Cairo on July 3-4 at the level of senior officials for this purpose.”
The Ethiopian prime minister, meanwhile, said: “I would like to say to the Egyptian people that we, Ethiopians, know fraternity and good neighborliness, and we have no desire or intention to harm Egypt.”
“Although we believe that we should benefit from this river (Nile River), at the same time, we must not harm the Egyptian people’s interests. We support the confidence that prevails between us in this regard,” he stressed.
Abiy went on to say: “We will take care of the Nile, we will preserve your share of the waters and we will work, with President Sisi, to increase this share.”
“There will be no hatred and disagreement between us, because it does not benefit both peoples. Planting sedition in both Egypt and Ethiopia will not serve the interests of our countries,” he also said.
According to an Egyptian presidential statement, Sisi and the Ethiopian prime minister agreed to adopt a common vision on the Renaissance Dam based on respect for each other’s rights. Another round of high-level negotiations is scheduled for Cairo on July 3.
Ethiopia began construction of the $4 billion dam in 2012, but the huge project has caused tension, especially with Egypt, which fears that this would lead to a decline in the flow of Nile water, which provides about 90 percent of its water needs.
Egypt relies entirely on the Nile water for drinking and irrigation and says it has “historical rights” to the river under the 1929 and 1959 agreements, which gave it 87 percent of Nile water and the right to approve irrigation projects in the upstream countries.