Egypt's FM, intelligence chief to visit Ethiopia for Nile dam talks

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-27 00:26:25|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CAIRO, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian senior officials will visit Ethiopia on Monday to discuss developments of the giant dam under construction by Ethiopia on their shared Nile River, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and head of the General Intelligence Directorate Abbas Kamel will meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, conveying a verbal message from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

"The visit aims at following up the course of Egyptian-Ethiopian relations and the ways of enhancing them as well as the developments regarding the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)," the statement added.

Upstream Nile Basin country Ethiopia and downstream Sudan eye massive benefits from the GERD construction, while downstream Egypt is concerned it might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the river water.

Egypt's ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil following an uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

When Sisi took office in 2014, he showed understanding of Ethiopia's aspiration for development through the new dam.

In March 2015, the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan signed an initial cooperation deal on the principles of sharing the Nile River water and the construction of the GERD.

They also met in January in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 30th African Union summit and agreed to avoid misunderstandings by joint cooperation on common interests amid the GERD construction.

"The meeting with the Ethiopian prime minister is also expected to discuss the developments of the establishment of a fund for infrastructure between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan which would contribute to activating joint cooperation in the field of development projects," said the Egyptian statement.

The GERD will be Africa's largest dam upon completion with a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic meters and a construction cost of about 4.7 billion U.S. dollars. It is expected to produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity for Ethiopia.