Egypt’s President Al-Sisi received a phone call from the South African President and African Union (AU) chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday to discuss developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations.
According to a statement by the Egyptian presidency, Al-Sisi stressed the necessity of reaching a comprehensive legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam, as Nile water is an existential issue for Egypt.
Ramaphosa said that he looks forward to bolstering coordination between the two countries on this sensitive and vital issue to reach a fair agreement, praising the sincere and constructive political will that Egypt has always shown to reach a solution to the GERD crisis.
With 90% of its water needs provided by the River Nile, Egypt remains concerned that the GERD will shrink its share of water from the river, which will cause harms to its people.
Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia were engaged in talks brokered by the AU over disputed points regarding the Ethiopian dam. The talks, ended without any agreement on the disputed points.
Egypt has expressed concerns regarding its possible impact on its 55bn cbm share of the River Nile’s water. However, Ethiopia insists that the dam will not negatively affect Egypt’s interests.
Both Egypt and Sudan have other fears over the dam’s security and safety, due to its location in an active geologic region, which puts it at a risk of earthquakes or mass floods.
During the call Al-Sisi and Ramaphosa also discussed ways to boost cooperation on bilateral issues, as well as continental and international matters to push forward African interests.