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Sisi: Egypt does not want war with Sudan and Ethiopia

Egyptian president says Cairo seeks good relations with both countries as tensions continue to rise in Read Sea region.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said his country was not meddling in the internal affairs of Sudan and Ethiopia, as he sought to defuse rising tensions in the Red Sea region.

Sisi, in a televised broadcast on Monday, said Cairo was not planning to go to war with the African countries.

"We are not prepared to go to war against our brethren or anyone else for that matter. I am saying this as a clear message to our brothers in Sudan and Ethiopia," Sisi said.

"Egypt neither conspires nor meddles in anyone's internal affairs. We are determined to have good relations [with Sudan and Ethiopia]. Our region has seen enough the past few years," he said.

Egypt fears that the soon-to-be-completed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, the largest hydroelectric dam project in Africa, will significantly reduce its share of the Nile River water. The river provides almost all of Egypt's freshwater.

Addis Ababa says the $5bn dam will not have any effect on Egypt's share of the Nile water, and claims the project is necessary for the East African country's economic development.

Egypt, with a population roughly equal to that of Ethiopia, has traditionally received the lion's share of the Nile's water, under agreements reached in 1929 and 1959.

Other Nile basin nations view those agreements as unfair, arguing that they ignore the needs of their own large and growing populations.

Egypt has long accused Sudan of siding with Ethiopia; while Khartoum claims Cairo is supporting rebels in its territory.

Khartoum recalled its ambassador to Cairo for "consultations" on January 4, following media reports of Egypt sending troops to Eritrea, which has a border with Sudan. 

Sudan also closed its borders with Eritrea and sent troops to its border region of Kassala. 

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