Egypt and Ethiopia are expected to sign a political declaration by this end of this month regarding the Nile river water and a controversial Ethiopian dam
CAIRO – Egypt and Ethiopia are expected to sign a political declaration by this end of this month regarding the Nile river water and a controversial Ethiopian dam, Egyptian political sources have said.
"The political declaration will be signed by leaders of Egypt and Ethiopia on the sidelines of the African Summit, due to be held on Jan. 29-31," one of the sources told The Anadolu Agency.
He said the declaration will include "seven points that were articulated in a previous joint statement" by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in June in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.
"In a nutshell, the declaration is a political agreement under which the two countries can reach a consensus on matters related to water usage, and that can be later translated into multiple agreements, including a legal one," the source said.
Another source close said that "the declaration will clearly stipulate respecting international laws".
During a recent meeting with Patriarch Abune Mathias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church last week, al-Sisi stressed the need for a "legal mechanism that would preserve the rights of both countries to the waters of the Nile, secure their interests and enhance mutual cooperation."
Ethiopia and Egypt are in the middle of diplomatic rapprochement to narrow their differences over the former's construction of a multi-billion hydroelectric dam on the Nile.
The two countries agreed to resume tripartite talks – which also included downstream country Sudan – Desalegn and al-Sisi met in Equatorial Guinea in June.
Meetings of a tripartite technical committee, set up in 2011, resumed in August after an eight-month hiatus due to ongoing differences between Cairo and Addis Ababa.
In September, the tripartite committee decided to commission research firms to study trans-boundary and environmental impacts of the Ethiopian Nile dam.
Egypt says the Ethiopian dam will negatively affect its share of water from the Nile – its only source of water – while Ethiopia says the project is indispensable for its own national development and the economic welfare of its growing population.
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