Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has said that conflict is not the answer to resolving the long-running dispute over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the River Nile.
He was responding to October’s remarks by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who said no force could stop the $5bn (£3.8bn) dam being built.
Talking to journalists in Sharm el-Sheikh, President Sisi said the focus should be on reaching an amicable solution next month during US-mediated talks set to be held in Washington.
“We don’t want to boast about our own might. But are you going to recruit a million people or are you going to build the dam?” Mr Sisi said.
“Our resources shouldn’t be wasted in conflict and wars, which cost millions. Use that money for development of people and our countries instead,” he added.
Ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are scheduled to meet next month in the US for the final round of talks to end the dispute.
The technical teams have already met three times following the intervention of US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in November.
At the centre of the dispute is the time frame for filling up the dam, the construction of which started in 2011.
Ethiopia wants to do it over the shortest time possible but Egypt wants a longer timescale, fearing the project will allow Ethiopia to control the flow of Africa’s longest river.
Egypt relies on the Nile for 85% of its water.