Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that his country is confident the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), scheduled for next July, will not affect its water interests.
Speaking during an interview with the TEN channels, Shoukry explained that Egypt can deal with the issue through “strict management of our water resources.”
The Minister asserted that it is important to join international efforts to convince Ethiopia of the need to reach an agreement, as the negotiating parties approach a crucial point.
Shoukry was speaking from Paris, where he was accompanying President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for an international summit on Sudan.
Egypt and Sudan have been negotiating with Ethiopia for almost 10 years to conclude a legal agreement regulating the filling and operation of the dam, which Addis Ababa built on the main tributary of the Nile to generate electric power.
Shoukry warned that Egypt will spare no effort in defending its water interests and taking measures to preserve them if the dam was used for any other purpose than what it is originally intended for.
“The international moves show the importance of the issue and allow the president of the African Union to be briefed on the Egyptian viewpoint, which is characterized by flexibility, moderation, and the desire to get out of the crisis by reaching an agreement," noted Shoukry.
For his part, the Ethiopian Minister of Water and Irrigation, Seleshi Bekele said that the construction of the dam is proceeding according to plan.
In April, the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation indicated that the Ethiopian claim that the two bottom outlets of the dam are capable of enabling an average flow of Blue Nile is incorrect.
The capacity of releasing Nile water from these two bottom outlets does not exceed 50 million m3/day, the ministry said, an amount that does not meet the needs of the two downstream countries.
The ministry added that such an amount of water is not equivalent to the average water release coming from the Blue Nile.
“The situation will be more complicated starting from the flood season (Next July) as the bottom outlets will release an amount lower than usual in July and August,” read the Ministry's statement.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) highlighted Shoukry's statements and quoted the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry's adviser, Ibrahim Idris, as saying that “Sudan and Egypt are using the Renaissance Dam to pressure Ethiopia to give up its water rights.”
Idris says that the two downstream countries are not interested in the dam in the first place, but with the Nile waters, noting that they are seeking to obtain a legal concession from Ethiopia through threats, pressure, and international persuasion