Egypt wants ‘formal agreements’ with Ethiopia over water share

CAIRO: Egypt wants “formal agreements” that Ethiopia will not reduce Cairo’s share of the Nile during the filling of what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told reporters on Tuesday “we need to turn Ethiopia’s goodwill into formal agreements” and ensure the dam is not used for “political purposes.” He did not elaborate, saying only that Egypt has seen “positive signs” from Ethiopia’s government.

Egypt fears the $4.8 billion dam could reduce its share of the Nile River, which provides virtually all its freshwater. Ethiopia says it needs the dam for its economic development.

The two have been at odds over how quickly the reservoir behind the dam will be filled and the impact it would have on Egypt’s share of the Nile.

The dam is now 63 percent finished, and Ethiopia hopes to become a key energy hub in Africa upon its completion.

The main sticking point with Egypt concerns how quickly the reservoir behind the dam is filled, and the impact that will have downstream.
Egypt has received the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters under decades-old agreements seen by other Nile basin nations as unfair.

Past Egyptian presidents have warned that any attempt to build dams along the Nile will be met with military action, but El-Sisi, has ruled that out.
Sudan appears to be taking Ethiopia’s side in the negotiations, and has revived a longstanding border dispute with Egypt.

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