(Bloomberg) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said his country is committed to talks to resolve an impasse over the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s mega-dam on the Nile’s main tributary.
“We are keen to reach a solution to the issue via negotiations,” Sisi said Tuesday in televised comments made at the opening of a new industrial city. He denounced suggestions in unspecified media about military action.
It marked Sisi’s first significant public comments on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam since talks between the two countries and mutual neighbor Sudan ended in mid-July without an agreed time-line for filling the reservoir. Shortly afterward, Ethiopia announced it had met its first-year filling target naturally due to heavy seasonal rains.
Egypt, which depends on the Nile River for most of its water needs, is opposed to any development that may significantly impact the flow downstream, a position Sudan shares. Ethiopia is developing a 6,000-megawatt power plant at the site, and asserts the right to use the resource for its development.
The three countries held another African Union-mediated virtual meeting on Monday to discuss the issue and the talks will resume next week in an attempt to resolve pending issues, Sudan’s Irrigation Ministry said in a statement. After the meeting, both it and Egypt expressed concern over the “unilateral filling” of the reservoir.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.