Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called on the international community to pressure Ethiopia to reach a legally binding agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a way that preserves his country’s water security.
The dispute between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa was sparked in 2011 when Addis Ababa began constructing the mega dam on the Blue Nile.
Egypt and 10 other downstream countries share the Nile basin, yet more than 85 percent of its share comes from the Blue Nile tributary in Ethiopia.
Around 80 percent of the construction works have been completed so far, and Addis Ababa completed the second phase of filling the dam in August, which is a cause of concern to Egypt and Sudan that fear the dam's impact on their water shares.
Sisi’s remarks were made during his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg on the sidelines of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK.
Both sides reviewed developments on GERD, among other regional issues, the presidential spokesman said.
Egypt prioritizes its historical rights in the Nile waters, being an existential matter that requires an intervention from the international community to be resolved, Bassam Rady quoted Sisi as saying.
In mid-September, the UN Security Council called on Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to resume negotiations led by the African Union, stressing the need to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of GERD within a “reasonable timetable.”
Egypt relies on its share of the Nile water to meet more than 90 percent of its water needs. The government has been working according to a strategic plan to rationalize water use and provide alternative water resources.