Pope Francis called for dialogue between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Saturday, urging them not to let a dispute over a dam on the Nile lead to conflict.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is being built some 15 km from Ethiopia's border with Sudan, has become a major source of discord between the three countries.
"I invite all parties involved to continue on the path of dialogue so that the eternal river will continue to be a source of life, which unites and does not divide, which nurtures friendship, prosperity and fraternity and not enmity, misunderstanding and conflict," the pontiff said.
He was giving his Angelus message for Assumption Day, the most important Catholic feast dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Egypt, which fears the dam project could lead to water shortages upstream, has threatened to withdraw from the latest round of discussions. Sudan is concerned about the dam's safety.