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Egypt Ready for All Possible Scenarios in GERD Dispute

Egypt Ready for All Possible Scenarios in GERD Dispute

Monday, 12 April, 2021 - 10:30
An aerial view of the Nile River, agricultural lands and homes from an airplane window on a flight between Cairo and Luxor on Saturday, April 10, 2021 (EPA)

The Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aty said his country was ready to deal with all possible issues arising from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Abdel Aty's televised statements came after Addis Ababa announced its plans to move forward with filling the dam reservoir when the rainy season begins even if no binding legal agreement was reached in this regard.

However, the minister said that his country is not concerned, even if Ethiopia implements the second phase of filling the dam, saying the state would not wait for any damage to occur and that Egypt had prepared for all possible scenarios five years ago.

Egypt and Sudan on Saturday rejected an Ethiopian proposal to share data on the operations of its giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile after negotiations between the three countries in Kinshasa this week ended without progress.

“Ethiopia invites Sudan and Egypt to nominate dam operators for data exchange before the filling of GERD in upcoming rainy seasons,” the Ethiopian foreign ministry wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

However, Cairo and Khartoum maintained that they are seeking a legally binding agreement over the operations of the dam, which Addis Ababa says is crucial to its economic development.

Cairo rejects “any unilateral measures taken by Ethiopia and will not accept reaching understandings that provide political and technical cover for the Ethiopian efforts to impose a fait accompli on the two downstream countries,” the Irrigation Ministry said.

Cairo fears the potential negative impact of GERD on the flow of its annual share of the Nile’s 55.5 billion cubic meters of water especially that it relies on it for more than 90 percent of its water supplies.

Abdel Aty said that while reserves at the Aswan High Dam could help stave off the effects of a second fill, his chief concern was drought management.

The Egyptian state will not allow any water crisis to occur, he stressed, noting that it is better for Addis Ababa to allow resolving this decade-long crisis through negotiations.

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