Ethiopia vows not to harm Egypt's share of Nile water
(EBC; June 11, 2018) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali vowed on Sunday that Ethiopia will not harm Egypt's share of the Nile River water through the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
His remarks came in a joint press conference in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi following their talks on the giant dam that is currently being built on the Nile River.
"I swear to Allah that Ethiopia will not do any harm to Egypt's water," said the Ethiopian prime minister during his first visit to Cairo since he assumed office in April.
Upstream Nile Basin country Ethiopia and downstream Sudan eye massive benefits from the GERD construction, while downstream Egypt is concerned it might affect its annual share of the river water.
For his part, Sisi described Egypt's relations with Ethiopia as "strategic," promising to maintain cooperation with the Ethiopian side for the best interests of both nations.
"I would like to reiterate that the relation between Egypt and Ethiopia is a strategic partnership relation, and that Egypt's strategic policy is to enhance common interests with Ethiopia in all fields," the Egyptian president told the news conference.
Abiy's visit came three weeks after a breakthrough in the talks was seen during a nine-member trilateral ministerial meeting, held in Addis Ababa in mid-May, which comprised the ministers of foreign affairs, those of water resources and the heads of intelligence services of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
"The visit is important because it is the Ethiopian new premier's first visit to Cairo and it will reveal his vision on the dam issue," said Hani Raslan, head of Sudan and Nile Basin studies department at Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
During the meeting in Addis Ababa, the three states agreed to form a scientific study group for consultation on the reservoir construction and filling and to hold a summit among the three countries' leaders every six months.