Egypt’s president to meet with Ethiopia PM over Nile dispute

Water flows through Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. Picture taken September 26, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 13 October 2019

Egypt’s president to meet with Ethiopia PM over Nile dispute

  • Sisi said in televised remarks Sunday the meeting with Abiy Ahmed will take place in Russia
  • Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to resolve their differences over the Blue Nile dam

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday he would meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Russia to discuss a dispute over a hydropower dam that the Horn of Africa country is building on the River Nile.
A long-running diplomatic standoff over building and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has heightened tensions between the two countries. Egypt worries that the dam will threaten its already scarce water supplies.
"I agreed with the Ethiopian prime minister to meet in Moscow and to discuss the issue to move forward, and God willing, things will go in a way that helps to solve this issue in one way or another," Sisi said at a military forum on Sunday.
He did not say when they would meet, but Russia will host the first Russian-African summit in the Black sea resort of Sochi on Oct. 23 and 24.
Sisi and Abiy spoke on Friday after the Ethiopian prime minister won the Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts with Eritrea. Sisi had congratulated Abiy on Facebook.
"The call included a stress on the importance of overcoming any obstacles in the negotiations of the Renaissance Dam," said Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Rady.
Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile which joins the White Nile in Khartoum and runs on to Egypt, says the dam will not disrupt the river's flow and hopes the project will transform it into a power hub for the electricity-hungry region.
Sudan, which is also involved in the talks, hopes to buy electricity produced by the dam.
Sisi said his government had a plan, through 2037, worth 900 billion Egyptian pounds ($55 billion) to overcome "water poverty". The plan includes building huge sea water desalination plants and sewage triple treatment plants.
Sisi said Egypt had already spent 200 billion pounds on the plan, and would spend 70-100 billion more next year.
Many Egyptians on social media criticised Sisi for signing a 2015 "declaration of principles" with Ethiopia and Sudan, which was meant to serve as a basis for negotiations. Critics say the declaration has strengthened Addis Ababa's hand in talks, and no breakthrough has been made since it was signed in Khartoum.
Sisi blamed the 2011 uprising which toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak for weakening Cairo's position in the dam negotiations.
"If not for 2011, there would have been a strong and easy agreement on constructing this dam, but when the country exposed its back and ... stripped its shoulder naked, anything could be done," he said at the military forum.
($1 = 16.2000 Egyptian pounds)


Turkey’s Fatih drill ship starts operations off northeast Cyprus

Updated 41 min 42 sec ago

Turkey’s Fatih drill ship starts operations off northeast Cyprus

  • Turkey said it is operating on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights
  • Yavuz is another Turkish drillship off the west coast of Cyprus

ANKARA: The Turkish oil-and-gas drilling ship Fatih has started its operations off the coast of northeastern Cyprus, Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay said on Friday, despite warnings from European Union for Ankara to stand down.
On Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures against Turkey over its drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey, a formal candidate to join the EU despite worsening ties, criticized the decision and said it would not cease drilling because it is operating on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.
Another Turkish drillship, Yavuz, is off the west coast of Cyprus.