Cairo, Oct 15 | In a phone conversation, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.
During the call on Wednesday, Sisi reiterated Egypt’s stance regarding the dam, which seeks to reach “a binding and comprehensive legal agreement” on the rules of filling and operating the dam through tripartite negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan, Xinhua news agency quoted an official statement as saying.
He also expressed rejection of “any action or procedure that affects Egypt’s rights to the Nile water”.
For his part, Ramaphosa, also the incumbent President of the African Union (AU), expressed keenness on continuing intensive coordination with Egypt and working on reaching “a fair and balanced agreement” on the vital issue, said the Egyptian statement.
Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been negotiating under the AU over technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.
The $4 billion GERD has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin since Ethiopia started constructing it in 2011.
Ethiopia expected the dam to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.
However, Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its freshwater, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.