Cairo (HAN) June 13, 2014 – Egyptian President Al Sissi pushes for deal on disputed Nile Dam and Signaled a diplomatic deal with Ethiopia.
President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi signaled a thaw in ties with Addis Ababa, when he said in an inaugural speech that he would not allow a dispute over Ethiopia’s construction of a hydraulic dam on the Nile to “cause a crisis” between both countries or affect inter-African cooperation.
“In his inaugural speech, Al Sissi sought to remove the impact of Mursi’s notorious meeting,” Hani Raslan, an expert at the state-run Al Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies said. “By signaling readiness to cooperate with Ethiopia, Al Sissi also sought to deprive Ethiopia of its argument that Egypt stands against development in Africa.”
Ethiopia sent its Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom to Al Sissi’s inauguration on Sunday, in a warming gesture towards the new Egyptian president, because Egypt Signaled a diplomatic deal with Nile Dam Issues.
The Ethiopian Foreign minister Dr. Adhanom met Al Sissi in Cairo and invited him to visit Ethiopia. Al Sissi will confer with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of an African summit due in Equatorial Guinea later this month, according to local media.
“Ethiopia appreciates this positive message,” Adhanom wrote on his Facebook page, referring to Al Sissi’s remarks. “We are determined to take our relationship with Egypt to a higher level by building trust and confidence.”
Ethiopia’s $6.4 billion Renaissance Dam has triggered wide fears in Egypt, which heavily relies on the Nile to cover water needs of its population of 85 million people.
“Al Sissi seeks to keep cooperation with Ethiopia on condition that this framework emphasises Egypt’s interests,” said Raslan. “But I think Al Sissi will not make this visit for free. This visit will come to cap potential progress in negotiations between both countries on ending the dam crisis.”
Egypt’s annual quota of the Nile waters is estimated at 55.5 billion cubic metres. Water sharing among the 10 Nile Basin countries is regulated under a colonial-era treaty. Some Nile Basin countries have said the treaty is unfair.
Ethiopia has been urging the riparian countries to ratify the Comprehensive Framework Agreement to replace the 1959 treaty that gives Egypt and Sudan the share’s lion of the Nile waters. Six countries have already signed the 2010 pact amid Egyptian protests.
“Al Sissi’s strategy to solve the crisis with Ethiopia seems to be based on reaching a compromise acceptable to both sides,” said Mohammad Nasr Allam, an ex-irrigation minister. “This can take the shape of Ethiopia building a smaller dam than the planned one to generate the same amount of electricity sought by Addis Ababa,” told Al Watan.
“Such a solution is also aimed at safeguarding every drop of water assigned to Egypt under the 1959 treaty.”
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