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Sunday, 21 January 2018

El Sisi expresses extreme concern to Desalegn

El Sisi’s sit-down in Cairo late last week with Ethiopia’s visiting prime minister was nearly lost amid the Pence visit, election talk and shakeup at the intelligence service, but it’s our upstream neighbor that could well have the sharpest long-term impact on our nation.

The president expressed “extreme concern” to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn over the lack of progress in talks on the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Associated Press reports. El Sisi noted that Desalegn rejected Egypt’s proposal to bring in World Bank experts as neutral arbitrators on the dispute over the likely impact of the dam on Egypt’s share of the Nile and that he wanted a different team of experts. El Sisi said cooperation among the Nile basin countries must not be a “zero-sum game.” Desalegn also said Ethiopia does not want to hurt Egypt or make the Nile “an object of competition, mistrust or conflict,” Reuters reports. You can watch the whole press conference here (runtime 34:48).

Desalegn reportedly suggested holding a tripartite meeting with Egypt and Sudan by month’s end to resolve the gridlock over GERD, informed sources said, according to Youm7. Desalegn said the three countries’ presidents should meet on the sidelines of the African Union summit taking place in Addis Ababa later this month to discuss “outstanding differences,” including those over the dam.

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