14.10.2019 - Moscow / Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Moscow in the hopes of settling their dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.
Al-Sisi’s remarks came during a televised intellectual seminar organized by the Egyptian army.
The Egyptian president did not mention the date of the meeting. However, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported that the meeting will be held later this month.
He noted that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have not reached an agreement on the rules of the filling and operation of the dam, but said dialogue can solve differences.
During a phone conversation on Friday, al-Sisi and Ahmed highlighted the importance of overcoming all obstacles facing the tripartite negotiations over the GERD.
The two leaders agreed that an agreement should be reached that fulfills the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia within the framework of the Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries in 2015.
On Oct. 5, Egypt said a round of negotiations on the GERD between Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian ministers of irrigation in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum had reached "a dead end.”
Egypt held Ethiopia responsible for the failure of the negotiations, saying it "rejected all proposals that would help Egypt avoid serious harms because of the construction of the dam.”
In 2011, Ethiopia started building the dam, which is expected to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become the largest hydropower dam in Africa upon completion.
Ethiopia hoped to fill the dam’s reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, in five to six years, while Egypt has been seeking to prolong the period to avoid the negative effects of water shortage.
However, Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country, fears that Ethiopia is moving too fast to complete the dam and its timetable will create water and food scarcity so as to put millions of Egyptian farmers out of work.
The North African Arab country, which relies on the Nile for 90 percent of its freshwater, is also concerned that the construction of the GERD might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the river water.