Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Egyptian president Sisi to address Ethiopian parliament Wednesday

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held a press conference Tuesday with Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn

Sisi and Desalegn

Snapshot from Egypt's state TV of Egyptian President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn during a press conference in Addis Ababa on 24 March 2015.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will address the Ethiopian parliament on Wednesday as the two countries continue to talk over the latter's giant Nile dam project.

El-Sisi said at a press conference with Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn on Tuesday that bi-lateral talks "strengthen confidence" between the two states.

He said that the Declaration of Principles, signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on Monday, was a "positive step," adding that he hopes for subsequent steps to mark a "starting point for a better future."

Desalegn said that El-Sisi's visit asserts the "deep relationship" between the two countries. He added that the latest developments come to the benefit of both states, saying they have reached a level of "confidence and understanding" that will last for a long time.

El-Sisi also said he carries a message of "love and peace" from Egyptians to the Ethiopian people.

El-Sisi and Desalegn said they also discussed "cooperation efforts" to confront "terrorism" regionally.      

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a declaration of principles on Monday, in a critical step towards resolving a four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements among Basin countries.

El-Sisi said the principles agreed upon, including understandings on the dam's storage capacity and the technique of filling its main reservoir, would safeguard the interests of all three countries.

For several years, Egypt has raised fears that Ethiopia's under-construction $4.2 billion Grand Renaissance Dam would negatively affect its Nile water share.  

The Ethiopian 6,000 megawatt dam, set to be Africa's largest, is expected to be fully completed by 2017. Ethiopia has finished constructing at least 40 percent of the dam.