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Cairo to Reject Any Agreement that Undermines Its Water Rights

Cairo to Reject Any Agreement that Undermines Its Water Rights

Friday, 3 July, 2020 - 06:30
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Nile. Reuters file photo

One week ahead of an African Union deadline set for Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan as the latest bid to reach an agreement on the mega-dam that Addis Ababa is building, Cairo threatened to thwart any attempt of transgression of its water rights.

“Egypt will never allow any transgression of its rights or accept any deal underestimating its rights or affecting its people’s lives,” Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Atti said Thursday.

He said his country was keen to show goodwill and cooperate with Ethiopia concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), but Ethiopia hampered the course of negotiations.

In an interview with the DMC satellite channel, the Minister said his country is strong and all its agencies are working on the GERD dispute.

“Ethiopia is withdrawing from all agreements reached during trilateral meeting in Washington and clinging to unilateral filling of the dam,” Abdel Atti said.

Previous rounds of negotiations between the three countries, held virtually from 9-17 June, failed to reach an agreement due to Ethiopia's refusal to enter into a legally binding agreement and its announcement that it will begin filling the dam in July even without approval from the two downstream countries.

“Egypt’s annual quota of Nile water is 55.5 billion cubic meters, expounding that filling the dam during periods of dryness will cause a huge crisis,” Abdel Atti said, adding that Cairo wants a written agreement reassuring both Egyptian and Sudanese people over their rights.

The Minister explained that his country always seeks to achieve stability in the region.

“I am looking forward to make use of the African Union intervention to settle the dam crisis,” Abdel Atti said.

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