Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed in a phone call on Friday to overcome any obstacles facing negotiations on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.
The two leaders stressed the importance of overcoming any obstacles in the negotiations of the GERD to reach an agreement that fulfils the hopes and aspirations of the people of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, within the framework of the Declaration of Principles signed between them.
This came during a call by Ahmed to Al-Sisi on Friday to thank him for his congratulations for wining a Nobel Peace Prize.
“I extend my sincere congratulations to the Ethiopian Prime Minister and to the brotherly Ethiopian people for Abiy Ahmed’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Al-Sisi.
The two sides also stressed their aspiration to support the various aspects of bilateral relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.
In recent weeks, tensions occurred after several talks on the technical details governing the operation of the mega-dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile failed to make progress.
The filling and operating period of the GERD are the two main issues between Ethiopia and Egypt. The problem centres around the storage period, which Ethiopia believes should be three years, while Egypt believes it should be seven. Egypt is also proposing a hydraulic system to manage the GERD in coordination with Egypt’s High Dam and Sudan’s dams, but Ethiopia rejects.
Egypt also has concerns about the dam’s impact, urging that the Ethiopian dam alone will reduce the water level in front of the High Dam, contributing to a 90% risk on Egypt’s fresh water, as well as the destruction of thousands of acres.
Earlier this week, Egyptian officials said talks over the GERD with Ethiopia had reached a deadlock and called for international mediation. Ethiopia has dismissed the calls for mediation, and denied the deadlock, saying it has faith in the trilateral negotiations.