Egypt says dissatisfied with prolonged Nile dam talks with Ethiopia

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CAIRO, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Egypt is dissatisfied with the prolonged period of negotiations with Ethiopia over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on their shared Nile River, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed in a statement on Thursday.

Egypt's Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs, Hamdi Sanad Loza, said that "Egypt offered the Ethiopian side a fair proposal regarding the rules of filling and operating the dam to achieve Ethiopia's goals of power generation and preserve at the same time Egypt's water interests."

Loza's remarks came during a meeting held by the ministry with European ambassadors to Cairo to update them with the latest developments regarding the GERD negotiations, according to the statement.

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.

Loza explained that Egypt's proposal is based on its relevant former discussions with Ethiopia and the "declaration of principles" signed in March 2015 by the leaders of the three countries, which states that the three sides have to agree on the rules of filling and operating the dam.

"The deputy foreign minister stressed the importance of continuing the negotiations in good faith and discussing all proposals, including the Egyptian one," said the statement.

It also warned against imposing a unilateral vision and disregarding the interests of others or the damages that could hit the two downstream countries, "particularly Egypt, which depends on the Nile River as a lifeline to the Egyptian people."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has repeatedly vowed that his country will not harm Egypt's share of the Nile River water through the GRED construction.

Ethiopia has been building the dam since 2011. It is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and to be Africa's largest hydropower dam upon completion.

Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, is expected to take several years. While Ethiopia asked to fill it in five-six years, the longer the better for Egypt to avoid the negative impacts of water shortage, which is a main point of negotiations. Enditem

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