Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi warned Ethiopia on Sunday against wasting time on negotiations related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), stressing that his country seeks to reach a balanced agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam.
Speaking at the opening of the 4th Session of the Cairo Water Week, he said, “I would like to reiterate that we seek to reach, in the shortest time possible and without procrastination, a balanced and legally-binding agreement in this regard, in line with the Presidential Statement (issued on the GERD) by the Security Council in September 2021.”
Last month, the Council urged Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to resume African Union-led talks to reach a binding deal "within a reasonable timeframe" over the operation of the giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile.
Egypt and Sudan have been negotiating with Ethiopia for almost 10 years to conclude a legal agreement.
In his speech Sunday, the Egyptian President sought to comfort Ethiopia that such agreement would help achieve Addis Ababa's development goals, which Cairo understands and even supports, and at the same time limit the water, environmental, social and economic harm of this dam on Egypt and Sudan, based on respecting the rules of international law and in a manner that strengthens cooperation and coordination.
Sisi said Egypt has already developed the strategic plan for the management of water resources until the year 2037 at an estimated preliminary cost of $50 billion.
According to Sisi, the Egyptian plan is based on four main pillars: improving the quality of water, developing new water resources, rationalizing the use of the available water resources and enhancing the capacity of the Egyptian irrigation system.
“Egypt is one of the driest countries in the world, receiving the least average rainfall among all countries. This makes Egypt rely almost exclusively on the Nile River, which originates outside its borders,” Sisi revealed.
The Egyptian President urged countries sharing international rivers to uphold the principles of integration and participation, activate the rules of justice and fairness and not to harm the interests of their neighbors.