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Egypt Stresses Peaceful Solution to Dam Dispute with Ethiopia

Egypt Stresses Peaceful Solution to Dam Dispute with Ethiopia

Monday, 6 June, 2022 - 07:00
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi at the first African Health ExCon. Photo: Egyptian Presidency

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi stressed on Sunday that his country is not in a conflict with African states to increase its share of the Nile water.

The President spoke as he inaugurated the first African Health ExCon, which kicked off Sunday in Cairo and will continue until Tuesday.

“Our share in the Nile Water is estimated at 55 billion cubic meters, and it has not changed since the population was three or four million,” he said in reference to Egypt’s continued peaceful approach in dealing with the dispute on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

GERD is set to be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa but has been a center of dispute with downstream nations Egypt and Sudan ever since work first began in 2011.

Cairo has reiterated its demand that Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan reach a legally-binding agreement to fill and operate the dam.

The last round of talks between the three countries in Kinshasa ended in early April 2021 with no progress made. Ethiopia refused then to involve the quartet in GERD talks and renewed its commitment to the African Union-led talks.

“We did not enter into a conflict with our African brothers in order to increase this (water) share,” Sisi said on Sunday.

Egypt has repeatedly denied its intention to go to war with Ethiopia over the dam. Cairo stressed that it will follow peaceful political means to reach a solution to the dispute on the dam, which it describes as “existential,” despite the stalled negotiations.

Dr. Sama Suleiman, a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Egyptian parliament, told Asharq Al-Awsat that official statements released by the Foreign Ministry reveal Egypt’s willingness and intension to reach an agreement on the dam in line with international law and through negotiations.

Meanwhile, Sisi said on Sunday that Egypt ranks first or second worldwide in benefiting from water treatments and desalination to profit its people.

He stressed that water treatment programs have been developed in accordance with international health standards.

Egypt suffers from scarcity of water resources and needs about 114 billion cubic meters annually, while the available water resources amount to 74 billion cubic meters.

The Nile water accounts for more than 90 percent of Egypt’s needs or 55.5 billion cubic meters.

In order to overcome the crisis, the Ministry of Irrigation has prepared a plan to manage water in Egypt until 2037 with investments of more than $50 billion, which are expected to increase to $100 billion.

Also Sunday, Sisi launched an Egyptian initiative to provide a number of African states with 30 million anti-coronavirus vaccine doses.

Speaking at a dialogue session under the theme of "towards flexible and sustainable health systems in Africa,” held within the framework of the 1st Africa Health Excon, the president said all potentials in Egypt are available for African brethren, pointing out that he highly understands the suffering of any human being whether in Africa or in any country.

Sisi said the lack of resources should not be an obstacle impeding the realization of objectives.

He asserted that "it is through will and hope that progress could be realized”, highlighting Egypt's efforts in the early detection of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and putting an end to the virus.

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