CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday reiterated Egypt’s determination to guarantee and maintain its water security, now and in the future, in light of concerns about the new Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia.

Speaking in Cairo after a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, he stressed the importance of reaching a comprehensive, just and legally binding agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the rules for filling and operating the dam, which is on the Blue Nile River. He also highlighted the important role of the international community in pushing for this and working to support an effective negotiation process to achieve it.

El-Sisi also warned against any unilateral actions that result in a fait accompli that ignores the rights of the countries’ peoples, and Egypt’s vision to make the Nile River a source of cooperation and development as a lifeline for all the people of the Nile Basin countries.

Regarding the other issues discussed by the two leaders, El-Sisi said: “I had fruitful and constructive discussions with the Spanish prime minister which clearly reflected our common political will to strengthen cooperation frameworks between Egypt and Spain in various fields, allowing optimal use of our capabilities to serve the interests of both countries.

“I also exchanged views with the Spanish prime minister regarding developments in our region in general, and with regard to the overall strategic situation in the Mediterranean Basin and our common regional neighborhood."

According to the official spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, Sanchez stressed that Egyptian-European cooperation reflects common interests and enhances the distinguished relationship between the two sides, especially in light of the fact that Egypt hosts millions of refugees, and its efforts to control its coasts which have resulted in no cases of illegal immigration since 2016.

Ethiopia’s decision to proceed with the second phase of the filling of the Renaissance Dam this year before reaching a binding agreement with downstream countries Sudan and Egypt has been the most prominent challenge during the decade-long negotiation process between the three countries about the dam. The talks have been officially suspended since April after they failed to reach an understanding prior to the start of phase two. Egypt and Sudan reject Ethiopia’s decision to proceed before reaching a binding agreement on filling the dam and its operation.

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