Ethiopian PM says 'warning' remarks on GERD quoted out of context: Presidency

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Thu, 24 Oct 2019 - 12:08 GMT

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi meets with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Forum in Sochi, Russia held from October 23-24 - Courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi meets with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Forum in Sochi, Russia held from October 23-24 - Courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency

CAIRO – 24 October 2019: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed appreciation for the Egyptian leadership, government and people, saying that his recent remarks on the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), which grew tensions between the two states were quoted out of context, the Egyptian Presidency said.

Ahmed’s remarks came in a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Forum in Sochi, Russia held from October 23-24.

Egypt on Tuesday expressed its great shock and deep concern in a press statement, in response to the Ahmed’s alleged remarks on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam talks, as he warned that his country could ready millions of people in case a war broke out over the dam.

Meeting Sisi, Ahmed said that his statements that drew controversy have in fact expressed Ethiopia's commitment to the construction of the Renaissance Dam without causing harm to Egypt and Sudan.

The prime minister said that his government and people have no intention to harm the interests of the Egyptian people, affirming that the stability of the two countries is an added value for the whole African continent.

Ahmed said that he, as Ethiopia’s prime minister, is committed to what has been declared by his country concerning adherence to negotiations towards a final agreement.

President Sisi, during the meeting, said that while Egypt has always shown openness and understanding of the developmental interests of the Ethiopian state through establishing GERD, it sticks to its historical rights in the Nile water share.

The construction of the dam should take place within a balanced framework, that takes into consideration the interests of both the upstream and downstream countries, Sisi said, adding that the Nile River marks cooperation, brotherhood and development, and should never be seen as a source of any problems or conflicts.

Sisi and Ahmed have agreed to immediately resume the work of the relevant independent technical research committee in a more open and positive manner, with the aim of reaching a final vision on the rules of filling the reservoir and operating the dam.

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Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its water share after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011.

A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began in 2014. One year later, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. However, Cairo and Addis Ababa have recently blamed each other for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem.

Sisi voiced his aspiration to reach an agreement that bears the common interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia into account, Radi added.


Additional reporting by Samar Samir

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