President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi assured the entire nation amid the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis, saying that “Egypt’s national security, including its rights, is a red line that cannot be crossed.”
The president acknowledged the citizens’ concerns regarding the dam as “legitimate” but reaffirmed that the country would not allow anyone to infringe on its resources.
He reiterated Egypt’s demand that Ethiopia and Sudan sign a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD.
“Let’s make a legally binding agreement that will bring prosperity, security and peace to all of us,” he said.
He called on Egyptians to ignore rumors, stressing he has long been “honest, loyal and trustworthy” to the people and remains so.
Trilateral GERD negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia were brought to a halt last April after the three countries failed to reach an agreement on filling and operating the controversial dam built on the main tributary of the Nile River.
The lack of agreement has forced downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, to present the conflict’s case to the UN Security Council.
Nevertheless, Ethiopia has notified Egypt and Sudan that it will resume the second phase of filling the GERD’s reservoir. This decision was met with anger from Egypt and Sudan, which are demanding first signing a legally binding agreement on filling and operating the dam.
“We have the economic and military power to impose our will and defend our interests. We have several options, and we will consider them according to the situation and the circumstances at the time,” said Sisi during a public speech at the inauguration of the Decent Life initiative in Cairo.
“We spoke with the Sudanese and the Ethiopians and made it clear during all our talks that we want the Nile [used] for cooperation and partnership,” he said, adding that Egypt does not intervene in other countries’ affairs or internal issues.