Ethiopia PM meets Sisi as Egypt seeks mutual cooperation

A unified stream of thought

But at a press conferee in Cairo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signaled they had made a breakthrough.

In an official statement, El-Sisi's spokesman Bassam Rady said Ahmed will be in Egypt for two days and will talk to the president about "various issues".

Addis Ababa has "no desire or idea to harm the Egyptian people. We will work with the people of Egypt in any area", Abiy said.

"We want to forget what was in the past and begin a phase of cooperation".

Upstream Nile Basin country Ethiopia and downstream Sudan eye massive benefits from the GERD construction, while downstream Egypt is concerned it might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the river water.

Egypt's president said both countries are working to achieve a final agreement over the Renaissance Dam that "secures" Egypt's fair share of Nile waters and helps Ethiopia's development.

Fitsum Arega, chief of staff to the Ethiopian prime minister, tweeted that the freed prisoners will arrive in Addis Ababa later on Monday.

A similar ministerial meeting in April in the Sudanese capital Khartoum failed to reach an agreement over technical issues regarding the GERD, with Ethiopia and Sudan holding Egypt responsible for the talk failure and Egypt rejecting the blame and inviting for further talks in Cairo.

Egypt has long anxious that Ethiopia's planned Grand Renaissance Dam would reduce the flow of freshwater from the Nile to its territory.

On May 16, the irrigation ministers of all three countries that share the Nile agreed to establish a scientific study group on how the dam would be filled and agreed to hold meetings every six months on the matter.

Egypt fears the dam will cut into its share of the river, which provides virtually all the fresh water for the arid country of 100 million people. Ethiopia says the dam is essential for its economic development.

"I believe the visit is exploratory and it is meant to ensure previous understandings and create new ones", the expert added, noting that Ethiopia has already completed 65 percent of the dam construction.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. Ethiopia hopes the finished project can transform it into a key energy hub in Africa.

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