Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed the vital need to reach a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) within an appropriate time frame.
He asserted that this must be done in a manner that enhances regional security and stability based on the rules of international law and Security Council decisions.
On Saturday, the Egyptian president also pushed forward the the importance of joint cooperation between all the Nile Basin countries out of concern for common interests without harming any of them.
He affirmed Egypt’s rejection of any unilateral measures that would impact the livelihoods of those that depend on the Nile River.
Sisi’s remarks came during a joint press conference with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame. Sisi welcomed the Rwandan president’s visit, noting that his visit to Cairo reflects the strength of the bilateral relations that bind them.
“We discussed the developments of the GERD issue, and I re-emphasized the importance of joint cooperation among all Nile Basin countries out of concern for common interests, and not harming any of the basin countries,” President Sisi added.
Negotiations over the GERD have officially stopped since April 2021, after Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia failed to reach an understanding before the start of the second filling of the dam, which Ethiopia implemented in July.
Cairo and Khartoum reject Ethiopia’s insistence on filling the dam before reaching a binding agreement on filling and operation.
Egypt, which relies considerably on freshwater from the Nile, has voiced fears that the GERD would negatively impact the country’s water supply.
Egypt has also insisted that measures be put into place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the dam’s filling process.
Egypt and Sudan say they want a legally binding agreement, while Ethiopia says any pact should be advisory.
Egypt and Sudan consider the dam a threat to their vital water supplies, while Ethiopia considers it essential for development and doubling its electricity production.
The downstream nations fear possible blows to water facilities, agricultural land, and overall availability of Nile water.
Negotiations over the dam between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have stalled for years, with the three parties ultimately failing to reach any concrete agreement.
The disputed dam is the largest hydroelectric project in Africa, with a cost of more than four billion dollars. The construction of the dam began in 2011.
It is considered to be one of Egypt’s most serious water issues.