The Foreign Minister of Egypt is to visit Ethiopia for talks on Nile dam project

Abbay Media News
Yassin Ibrahim

Sameh Shoukri, the Foreign Minister of Egypt is heading to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to talk to his Ethiopian counterpart, Reuters reported. The issue is the age old dispute over the right and share of Nile water each country should have. The question of Nile water has defined Ethio-Egypt relationships for centuries.

Ethiopia complains that Egypt uses its influence in the west, middle east and the in the United Nations to persuade potential investors and lenders to stay away from nile related investment. On the other hand Egypt feels it is losing control of the nile water every time Ethiopia decides to make use of  the river. The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, recently said that “no one can touch Egypt’s water” and said its a matter of “life or death”.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project created a fervor among Egyptians politicians and the general public the moment it was announced. Since then Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan has conducted numerous meeting in the three capital cities to reach to some kind of agreement. Ethiopia and Sudan has been asking for equitable share of the water that Egypt argues will reduce the quantity it has been getting.

The most recent agreement signed in 2015 in Khartoum for a neutral third party (a french firm) to study on the effects of GERD on downstream countries and on the environment is stalled when the parties met in Cairo in November and could not agree on the initial report. The blame for failure to agree flies in both directions with Sudan and ethiopia blaming Egypt and vice versa. 

To restart the negotiations Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri will be going to Addis Ababa to sit with Ethiopian foreign Ministry. The Foreign Minister is arriving in Ethiopia when the Ethiopian government is unstable, weak and divided and the country in turmoil. The ruling coalition EPRDF is split in two camps and members of parliament are boycotting parliamentary sessions with specific demands.


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