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Egypt seeks new era with Ethiopia: Al-Sisi - Daily News Egypt

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Egypt seeks new era with Ethiopia: Al-Sisi

Ethiopians detailing GERD agreement will resurrect uncertainties, Egyptian people need reassurance, the President said

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held talks with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome Last week where both agreed on opening a new page in relations based on confidence-building and achieving mutual interest and benefit. (Photo Presidency Handout)
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi held talks with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome Last week where both agreed on opening a new page in relations based on confidence-building and achieving mutual interest and benefit.
(Photo Presidency Handout)

“We are taking about a new era between Egypt and Ethiopia,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said during an interview aired on Ethiopian TV, while he was visiting the African country last week.

The peoples of Egypt and Ethiopia deserve a better life, the relations should be better than they are, Al-Sisi highlighted.

“We are suffering from tough circumstances…We share the same feelings,” Al-Sisi said, adding that 55 million Egyptians work in agriculture.

Citing water share insecurities, the president said that when the 1929 agreement was signed, Egypt’s population was only fifth of its current number. “The world changes and the need is bigger now,” Al-Sisi said.

Downstream countries Egypt and Sudan together receive the majority of Nile Water, according to the 1929 and 1959 agreements with Sudan, which took place in Ethiopia’s absence. Britain had signed the initial 1929 on behalf of Egypt, its colony back then. Egypt currently holds the lion’s share of the Nile’s water resources, of 55bn cubic metres, compared to the Sudanese share of 18bn cubic metres.

Al-Sisi said the current relations seek to remove all Egyptians’ uncertainties and worries concerning the water issue. “We are not talking about development of life, we are talking about life itself, we have no other option,” Al-Sisi believes.

Egypt and Ethiopia need to work together to attain prosperity, development and sustenance of life in Egypt. The two parallel lines can meet “through negotiations”, Al-Sisi pointed out, after years of diplomatic dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the GERD project.

He had signed a “good intentions” agreement on 23 March in Khartoum. The agreement sets the principles of cooperation between the two downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, and upstream Ethiopia.

But Ethiopians worrying about details would restore previous anxiousness, and “they should be addressed by officials who are keen to find the correct solutions”, Al-Sisi asserted.

“We are ready to cooperate with love and responsibility,” Al-Sisi said. “We are restoring trust between the two peoples after a tough time between Egypt and Ethiopia, let’s take it step by step with the framework that the two peoples are predetermined not to hurt each other.”

The Ethiopian’s contribution to the dam is similar to Egyptian’s contribution to the Suez Canal, Al-Sisi said, adding that the Canal was funded by Egyptians, and the dam represents hope and the future for Ethiopians.

Cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia has improved after years of political dispute. Egypt’s main concern since the GERD’s establishment in 2011 is its water retaining capacity. Utilising more Nile water than any other country, Egypt fears the dam will have a detrimental effect on its share of the river’s water.

During a Tuesday interview aired on Ethiopian television, Al-Sisi conveyed greetings from the Egyptian people to Ethiopians. He stressed that through dialogue and cooperation, both countries can take into account the interests of each other without inflicting harm.

Al-Sisi also congratulated the Ethiopian people for their “responsible…and open minded Prime Minister”.

Ethiopia began constructing the GERD in 2011. Although Egypt had previously refused the dam’s storage capacity of 74bn cubic metres, the 10 principle agreements did not disclose terms concerning this issue. The agreement stressed it would “not affect the water share of any downstream country”.

The conflict reached its peak in 2013 following ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s threats, calming down later, accumulating in a series of meetings between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s ministers of water and irrigation. They reached consensus and filed a report to Al-Sisi in March 2015, following which the president was set to visit Sudan and sign the agreement.

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  • tesfa

    Ethiopia will never reduce Egypt’s water that reaches Egypt. Ethiopian people and government actually increase the water reaching to egypt by storing a lot of water gradually from all of its dam when there e is a lot of rain in Ethiopia. If the water storage capacity of Ethiopia increase the amount of reaching egypt can be increased all year round. Above all Ethiopian people have been on the receiving end when it comes to basic needs so Ethiopia understands where Egypt is coming from. The only thing Ethiopian people does not yield is when Egypt can pull Ethiopia toward its goal using force. that is a no no. Other than that Ethiopia should save any effort to get water it needs as much as possible. Al-sis rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Abdel

    Egypt was in the past alwayes hostile towards Ethiopia. Egypt is the reason for the blody war of shaebia against the Ethiopian people. Egypt the reason why Ethiopia is devided now. AND IT IS NOW HIGH TIME THAT EGYPT SHOULD DO ANYTHING TO RESTORE THE UNITY OF ETHIOPIA. Eritrea is Ethiopia and Ethiopia is Eritrea. Egypt should stop its support of the peace hating shaebia dictator regime. Lasting trust between Egypt and Ethiopia can only be achived after the Reunity of ASMARA AND ADDIS ABEBA.

    • Dawit

      Abdel, you have been misinformed. The reason for the bloody war was King Haileselassie and President Megistu’s policy. The Amhara ruling system did not have respect for other ethinic groups. The Federation system has better respect. Unfortunately Federalism did not exist during the 30 year war. Eritrea is independent now. But I hope it teaches Amharas to love the rest of Ethiopians as they are instead of forcing them to assimilate to Amhara culture. An apology to Oromos for past injustice is a good start.

      • Alemgena Taye

        However, it can’t be denied that Egypt has supported rebels those rose against the central government of Ethiopia. Until recently, Egypt is known for the destabilization of Ethiopia.

        • Dawit

          I agree with you that Egypt supported rebels. However, Egypt did not create the rebels. Ethiopia’s past policies were a failure and created rebels out of civilians.

  • Tenkir G Abbabulgu

    Can you get dumber than this “…he was visiting the African country…” Isn’t that Egypt an African country? Even if you speak Arabic you still are African, and the old civilization too. Just baffled by how stupid people can get, the other thing is I am still worried about the agreement that it might hurt the interest of Ethiopia. May be next time we will raise an issue of using the water for irrigation purpose, it is our water we must drink it and eat food out of it and will have an other agreement that Ethiopia provides food for Egypt in fair price and Egyptians can engage in other forms of livelihood while we do the agriculture for them. I think that is eminent.

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