Egypt committed to diplomatic solution to Ethiopian dam crisis – Sisi

FILE PHOTO: Building site machines stand on the construction site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba in the North West of Ethiopia, 24 November 2017. /Getty Images.

Egypt is committed to dialogue in resolving its dispute with Ethiopia regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which Addis Ababa has been building on the Blue Nile, President Abdel Fattah sl-Sisi said.

The two nations have been locked in a months-long dispute regarding the dam, which Ethiopian hopes will make it Africa’s largest electricity exporter.

Egypt has long expressed fears that building the $5 billion dam will threaten water supplies that have fed Egypt’s agriculture and economy for thousands of years.

Cairo said on Friday it had called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to restart the talks.

“When we moved to the Security Council… that was (because) we are always keen to take the diplomatic and political path until its end,” Sisi said in a speech at an air force base.

“We need to move strongly towards concluding the negotiations and reach an agreement… and solutions that achieve the interest of all,” he said.

Once completed, the Grand Renaissance Dam will be the biggest in Africa.

Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President el-Sisi have met on many occasions previously, but a deal remains elusive. Both have however expressed confidence that the dispute will be resolved amicably.

On Saturday, Sisi recalled that in a speech he gave to the Ethiopian parliament five years ago he said that while Egypt respects Ethiopians’ need for development they also should respect its needs for “life”.

Parties that are observing the talks include the United States, South Africa and the European Union.