Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed on the importance of reaching a solution regarding Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam during a Sunday meeting with Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour in Cairo, where they discussed the latest developments in the talks between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the dam.
Presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said that the Egyptian president insisted that “reaching an understanding was critical given that the River Nile is the only source of water for Egypt”.
El-Sisi also stressed on the importance of taking serious and tangible steps in implementing the Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in March 2014 in Khartoum.
Sudanese FM Ghandour expressed his country’s commitment not to harm Egypt’s water rights and the common interests of the three countries.
In a meeting with Egyptian journalists at the Sudanese ambassador’s residence on Saturday, Ghandour stated that Sudan was not playing the mediator role between Egypt and Ethiopia as the “Dam is not located in Sudan.”
Ghandour also revealed that the Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir would visit Egypt in the first quarter of 2016.
Despite the Friday statement of Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry that Ethiopia was studying the Egyptian suggestion to increase the number of GERD’s gates from two to four to allow more water flow to the downstream countries, Ethiopian and international news reports stated that Ethiopia had rejected the suggestion.
In statements to the BBC, Bizuneh Tolcha, public relations director at the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, said the decision of building two openings came following “intensive studies” and that Ethiopia cannot redesign the dam project.
Although Egypt has repeatedly expressed concern over the dam’s possible effect on Egypt’s water, Ethiopia insists it will not negatively affect Egypt’s share of Nile water.