Declaration on Nile cooperation and the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam signed at Khartoum

By John O'Hanlon

A declaration has been signed between the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan that will lead to greater agreement on a fair way to distribute the waters of the Nile. President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir signed the declaration under which the three countries confirmed their commitment to cooperation.

Egypt has opposed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, saying it would lead to downstream water shortages, however Desalegn reassured Egyptians that construction of the dam would not harm their interests. Al Sisi meanwhile confirmed that Egypt was committed to cooperation with Ethiopia and Sudan for the development of the three nations.

The deal is a framework agreement that the three countries will build on, said al-Sisi: "We are starting a new era of cooperation, love and trust." This is a much more promising reaction to Ethiopia’s plans than that of his predecessor Mohamed Morsi, who emphasised that he would not allow Egypt's water supply to be endangered by the dam. Al Sisi. By contrast, merely asked that the increasing water needs of Egypt, where little rain falls, should be addressed as well.

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