Egypt’s presidential election Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has called on Ethiopia to understand the Egyptian concerns about the Nile water.
“There must be a mutual understanding between the two countries,” al-Sisi said during a meeting with an African media delegation on Tuesday, according to his official election campaign.
Al-Sisi, who led the army to unseat elected president Mohamed Morsi last July, said that Egypt understands the Ethiopian development aspirations.
“However, the Ethiopian side should understand that there are 90 million Egyptians who live on the Nile water, which is a life-or-death issue” he said.
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia soured last year over Ethiopia’s plans to build its Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Nile River – Egypt’s main source of water.
The controversial project raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, which fears a reduction of its traditional share of Nile water.
Ethiopia, for its part, is determined to build a series of dams in order to generate electricity, both for local consumption and export.
Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, which will be invited to purchase electricity thus generated.
Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of river water.
Source: World Bulletin