Egypt's al-Sisi ready to visit Ethiopia for water talks

By Hossam Habib, Saturday, May 17, 2014

Egypt's presidential frontrunner Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said that he is ready to visit Ethiopia for talks on resolving their Nile water dispute.

Egypt's presidential frontrunner Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said that he is ready to visit Ethiopia for talks on resolving their Nile water dispute.

CAIRO – Egypt's presidential frontrunner Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said that he is ready to visit Ethiopia for talks on resolving their Nile water dispute.

"Dialogue and understanding are the best way to resolve the crisis," al-Sisi said in an interview with the state-run Al-Ahram daily on Saturday.

"This is better than going into a dispute or an enmity with anyone," he added.

The former army chief, who led the army to unseat elected president Mohamed Morsi last July, said that he is ready to visit Ethiopia "if this serves Egypt's interests".

"I will not hesitate in making any effort for my country and its water rights, which is a life-or-death issue," he added.

Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia's plans to build a $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt's primary water source.

The project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, which fears a reduction of its historical share of Nile water.

Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been regulated by a colonial-era treaty giving Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of river water. Ethiopia, for its part, says it has never recognized the treaty.

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