CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has said that Egyptians’ concerns over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) are “legitimate” and warned that Egypt will not give up its water rights.
“I appreciate your concern about the dam crisis, and I share this concern with you and consider it a healthy phenomenon that stems from Egyptians’ fear and love for their country, but I call on Egyptians to be patient,” he said, adding that negotiations will take time.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of several projects, El-Sisi said that pressure is being applied to solve the crisis through negotiations.
“Our rights will not be violated,” he added.
Cairo has witnessed intense diplomatic activity recently, with Jeffrey Feltman, US envoy to the Horn of Africa, and Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the current session of the African Union, holding talks in an effort to reach a settlement.
Talks over the filling and operation of the dam between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have come to a halt.
Earlier, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Dina Mufti, expressed hopes that negotiations will resume following Tshisekedi’s efforts to break the deadlock.
Feltman called for a “profitable solution” for all parties involved.
Ethiopia began work on the 1.8-kilometer dam in 2011. Egypt fears the GERD will threaten its water supply from the Nile, while Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and its own water flow.
Both Cairo and Khartoum are calling for a binding and comprehensive deal that guarantees the rights and interests of all three countries.