Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for Ethiopia to engage “in good faith” to reach a legally binding agreement on the Grand Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile River.
In his speech at the first China-Arab Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Al-Sisi called for “the brothers in Ethiopia to necessarily engage in good faith with Egypt and Sudan” over the GERD, which Egypt says could put at risk its scarce water supplies. The agreement could “ensure the right of development of the current and future generations and spare them what threatens their stability, security, and integrity,” El-Sisi said.
Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have been locked in a bitter decade-old dispute over the GERD, amid fears in Cairo and Khartoum that the dam would reduce their water supply from the Nile River. On Aug. 12, Ethiopia announced the completion of the third filling of the GERD reservoir with 22 billion cubic meters of water. The move has deepened the crisis with Egypt and Sudan, which continue to reject any unilateral move without reaching an agreement over the dam.
In his speech at the meeting hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Al-Sisi highlighted the significance of Arab-Chinese ties, saying coordination with China must be increased to resolve regional and international crises.
In related news, the Egyptian President and head of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan discussed the filling and operation of the GERD, on the sidelines of the China-Arab Summit. During the discussion, El-Sisi and Burhan, highlighting the utmost importance of the water issue to the Egyptian and Sudanese peoples as a matter of national security, affirmed that any GERD agreement should achieve the joint interests of all parties.