ADDIS ABABA, Nov.23 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia on Thursday rejected warnings from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi over a mega hydroelectric dam Ethiopia is building that Egypt fears could reduce its share of water from the Nile river basin.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Meles Alem said Ethiopia is firm on its position of equitable use of the Nile's water.
Ethiopia is building a 6,450 MW hydroelectric dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, on the Blue Nile that it says is part of its desire for equitable use of Nile waters to help power its economic growth.
It insists that as the source of 86 percent of the Nile waters, Ethiopia needs to use the Nile waters to meet the economic needs of its population of around 100 million.
Egypt, a largely desert nation of around 95 million people, is highly dependent on the Nile's water for its economy.
"The issue of the Nile river is a life-or-death matter for Ethiopians," said Alem, employing the same "life-and-death" description used by al-Sisi on Saturday.
"Water is a matter of life or death," the Egyptian president was quoted as saying. "No one can touch Egypt's share of water."
Egypt fears that the hydroelectric dam will cut into its water supply, potentially crippling its agricultural sector which is already facing strains from water shortages.