Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia, on September 26, 2019. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi has said he shares his compatriots’ worries over a disputed Ethiopian dam built on the Nile, which is Egypt’s main source of water.

A decade of talks between Egypt and Ethiopia has failed to resolve a dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on the Nile.

“I know that the Egyptian people feel worried and so am I,” Al Sissi said in a televised ceremony for opening Suez Canal-related projects. “This is natural, but you must be sure that the course of negotiating requires patience. Negotiations in this crisis are long, difficult and tough. There should be no hasty conclusions. Trust God, your country and its capabilities,” he addressed Egyptians.

He said that Egypt’s water rights cannot be compromised. “Your worry is legitimate and appreciated. But you must be sure that our rights will not be given up,” Al Sissi said.

Egyptian officials have often blamed Ethiopia for the GERD impasse and accused Addis Ababa of playing for time.

The Ethiopian dam has triggered wide fears in Egypt, which relies heavily on the Nile to cover the water needs of its population of over 100 million people.

Ethiopia has repeatedly denied Egyptians’ worries and defended its construction of the 5-billion-dollar dam as being vital for its development and lifting its population of around 107 million out of poverty.