Egyptian president urges binding legal agreement on Ethiopian dam

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday urged for a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on the Nile River.

“No one can take one drop of water from Egypt,” the president said in televised comments during his visit to the Maritime Training and Simulation Center of the Suez Canal Authority in Ismailia.

“We are not threatening anyone. We always have sought a rational and patient dialogue,” he added, stressing that Egypt’s demands “abide by the international laws with regard to the issues of waters that cross borders.”

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt is concerned it might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile water. Sudan has recently been raising similar concerns over the 4-billion-U.S.-dollar dam.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the giant hydropower dam, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, have been fruitless.