Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that the massive dam his country is constructing over the Blue Nile will benefit all involved parties including the two downstream countries; Sudan and Egypt.
In a statement on Saturday, Ahmed indicated the benefits of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) include storing the Nile water adequately in order to face drought seasons.
“We have no intention to cause harm to our neighbours, and the Nile River strengthens relations between the countries of the region,” the Ethiopian Prime Minister affirmed. He added, “We share the Nile River with downstream countries in a spirit of trust and honesty.”
Ahmed also pointed out that the needs of both downstream and upstream countries are doubling due to population growth, so Egypt and Ethiopia need to work together to achieve sustainable development.
He also hailed the “wise leadership of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi” and called for working with Egypt “to achieve sustainable development, and to establish a true partnership to achieve the aspirations of our two peoples.”
On Thursday, both Al-Sisi and Ahmed met in Cairo to discuss the GERD issue and to end the stalemate of the talks between the two countries. The two leaders agreed to initiate urgent negotiations to finalise the agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
In a joint statement, the two leaders said they would do “all the necessary efforts” to reach an agreement within four months. Ethiopia also reiterated its commitment not to harm Egypt and Sudan’s share of water during the filling of the dam.
The GERD is a controversial project that has been the subject of years of negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile, which is a major tributary of the Nile River. Egypt is concerned that the dam will reduce its share of Nile water, while Ethiopia sees the dam as a vital source of hydroelectric power.