Egypt frees 32 Ethiopian prisoners during PM's visit

Egypt and Ethiopia fend off water wars over Nile mega-dam

The leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt vowed on Sunday to iron out their differences over a dam Addis Ababa is building on the Nile River that Cairo fears threatens its water supplies.

In a press conference with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Sunday, Abiy said that the president had pardonned the 32 prisoners. The dam is expected to be Africa's largest dam that will produce around 6,000 megawatts of electricity for Ethiopia.

Talks over the Grand Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia's $4 billion hydroelectric project, have been deadlocked for months.

Translation: "By his weak imagination power, Sisi thought that by making the Ethiopian PM swear he is saving Egypt's historic right in Nile waters, the Ethiopian PM will stick to his swear".

For his part, Sisi described Egypt's relations with Ethiopia as "strategic", promising to maintain cooperation with the Ethiopian side for the best interests of both nations.

Ethiopia hopes that the Grand Renaissance Dam, now under construction near the Ethiopia-Sudan border can transform it into a key energy hub in Africa.

Egypt has lately been concerned about the effect that an Ethiopian dam being built on the Nile river would have on water flowing to its fields downstream.

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

"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.

He said the Ethiopians have "no desire or idea to harm the Egyptian people".

Egyptian presidents in the past have threatened military force in defense of their share of the Nile and against any attempts to build dams on it.

Egypt's ties with Ethiopia have seen ups and downs since the latter started the dam project in April 2011 while Egypt was suffering turmoil following an uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. El-Sissi has ruled that out.

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