Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Friday that Cairo considers the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) a matter of national security, holding onto Egypt’s water rights.
“The president stressed the importance of this issue as a matter of national security and Egypt’s clinging to its water rights through reaching a legally binding agreement on clear rules of filling and operating the dam,” presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement.
Sisi was speaking during a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The two officials discussed a number of regional issues, including the situation in Libya, as well as the developments on the Ethiopian dam crisis.
A day earlier, Egypt accused Addis Ababa of showing its intention to impose a fait accompli on the Nile downstream countries by attempting to continue filling GERD.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that water is a matter of existence, warning about the crisis of water scarcity and its profound effects on the countries that suffer shortages and the need to take urgent measures to support them.
In a speech at the UN High-Level meeting on the implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, the PM said his country seeks a fair and balanced agreement in the negotiations on the dam.
Madbouly said Egypt’s annual share of water is 560 cubic meters per person, adding that his country is among the driest countries with the least access to renewable water resources. “It is also among the top countries globally in terms of dependency on a single source of water,” he said.
Egypt insists on the necessity of reaching a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating GERD in a manner that preserves common interests while continuing negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia.
In his phone call with Johnson, Sisi stressed Egypt’s keenness on boosting cooperation with Britain in different domains and importing technology from Britain.
He also asserted interest in promoting coordination on regional and international issues of common concern.
The British PM expressed appreciation to Egypt’s efforts in solving the Libyan crisis and restoring state institutions.