Egypt is committed to a diplomatic solution to Ethiopia’s dam crisis: El-Sisi

A general view of the Saddle Dam, part of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopia, near Guba in Ethiopia. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 20 June 2020

Egypt is committed to a diplomatic solution to Ethiopia’s dam crisis: El-Sisi

  • The talks were halted once again on Wednesday, this time only about a fortnight before the expected start-up of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
  • Egypt, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its fresh water supplies, is anxious to secure a legally binding deal

CAIRO: Egypt is committed to using diplomacy to resolve a crisis with Ethiopia over its construction of a giant hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Saturday, addressing stalled talks on the issue.
The talks were halted once again on Wednesday, this time only about a fortnight before the expected start-up of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is being built near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan and is the centerpiece in its bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.
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,” El-Sisi said in a speech at an air force base.
“We need to move strongly toward concluding the negotiations and reach an agreement... and solutions that achieve the interest of all,” he said.
Egypt, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its fresh water supplies, is anxious to secure a legally binding deal that would guarantee minimum flows and a mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.
The latest talks, which had started on June 9 over video conference, followed a previous round of negotiations in Washington, which ended without agreement in February.
On Saturday, El-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.”


Algerian president, 75, self isolates as pandemic spreads

Updated 45 min 30 sec ago

Algerian president, 75, self isolates as pandemic spreads

  • Tebboune is self isolating because some officials in “upper ranks of the government” are sick with COVID-19
  • “I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that I am well and healthy and that I continue my work,” he said

ALGIERS: Algeria’s 75-year-old President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is self isolating because some officials in “upper ranks of the government” are sick with COVID-19, he said in a Tweet on Saturday.
Tebboune took office in December in an election that came amidst months of mass protests which forced his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power after 20 years.
“I assure you, my brothers and sisters, that I am well and healthy and that I continue my work,” he said, saying his decision was taken on the advice of medical staff.
The global pandemic struck Algeria’s economy as it faced long-term challenges posed by the decline of the oil and gas revenues that finance its historically lavish state spending.
So far, Algeria has officially confirmed more than 55,000 cases of the coronavirus with nearly 2,000 deaths.
Though the pandemic forced an end to the weekly mass protest marches through Algiers and other cities that lasted for more than a year, the political challenges remain.
Tebboune has pushed for changes to Algeria’s referendum to limit presidential terms while expanding the powers of the parliament and judiciary.
However, many people in the leaderless protest movement believe their core goals of replacing the old ruling elite and forcing the army to stay out of politics remain unmet.
Algerians will vote in a referendum on the new constitution on Nov. 1, with Tebboune and the country’s powerful army generals seeking a high turnout in order to turn a page on the protests.