Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said talks about Ethiopia’s Nile Dam will “drag on” but expressed hope for a settlement negotiation for the dispute.
El-Sissi’s comments sparked tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over a huge Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, in a speech on Tuesday.
For nearly a decade, talks about the operation and filling of the mega-dam have stumbled.
“We’re negotiating, and these talks will be a long battle,” El-Sissi said, before adding, “We will succeed, God willing.” “
Last week, Ethiopia announced that it had reached its first-year target to fill the reservoir, a move that raised concerns in downstream Egypt and Sudan, who fear for their vital water supplies.
Al-Sisi said the Egyptians’ fear over the dam is “legitimate and natural”, but warned the media against making it a “threat” to military action.
The long-running controversy has recently gone online, with people in Egypt and Ethiopia turning to online posts for their rights over the waters of the Nile.
Cairo has feared that Ethiopia’s dam will be severely cut in its share of the Nile, causing over 100 million Egyptians to need 97 percent water.
Ethiopia, which began construction of the dam in 2011 and expects it to produce large amounts of electricity for its slightly larger population, said it is critical to its development.
It has not affected the water supply of downstream countries.
Sudan hoped the dam would help control floods, but in June, it warned that if Ethiopia unilaterally fills the dam, the lives of millions would be at “great risk”.
The world’s longest river, the Nile, is a lifeline that crosses both water and electricity.
Earlier this month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed praised the initial “historic” filling of the dam.
The winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, Abi said, “The conclusion of the first round of filling is a historic moment that reflects the commitment of the people of Ethiopia to the renaissance of our country.”
“The fact that we reached this milestone by our own efforts when no one else believed in our abilities to carry out such initiatives makes the moment even more historic.
“We conduct the filling of the dam without harming anyone,” Abi said.