Hopeful Presidential Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Pledges to Peacefully Resolve Dam Row with Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa: 28 May, 2014 (WIC) - Egypt’s presidential front runner Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said he would be keen to resolve the long running Nile water dispute with Ethiopia through dialogue if he is elected as the new president of the North African nation.

Al-Sisi said he was ready to visit Ethiopia for talks over the massive hydro plant project the East African country is building at the Blue Nile River.

Just over a year ago Egyptian politicians were caught discussing whether to launch military attacks against Ethiopia to sabotage the construction of the multi-billion dollar power plant project.

The comments were made at a meeting hosted by the President Mohamed Morsi - who has since been deposed - when several politicians debated bombing the dam while unaware that television cameras were recording the discussion.

At the time Ethiopia responded to the threat by saying it was ready to defend the dam project to any external threats, raising fears of a possible military confrontation between Addis Ababa and Cairo.

Morsi was deposed by the military a month later with al-Sisi assuming control of the government and putting himself in poll position to become president in elections which began on Monday and will end on Tuesday 27 May.

"Dialogue and understanding are the best way to resolve the crisis," al-Sisi told the state-run Al-Ahram daily newspaper in recent interview.

He added: "This is better than going into a dispute or an enmity with anyone."

The former army chief, who led the army to oust Mohamed Morsi last July, said he would exert utmost efforts to sustain Egypt's water security which he said was a "life-or-death issue".

Ethiopia is the source to 85% of the Nile River's water, however, colonial-era treaties written by Britain have granted downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan the lion’s share of the water.

When completed, the $4.3 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which is being built in the Benishangul Gumuz region near the Sudanese border will have an electric generation capacity of 6,000 MW.