An Egyptian minister has denied media reports that Egypt has reached an agreement with Sudan to build an airbase on its territory as a launch pad for potential attacks on Ethiopian dams.
The rumour is "designed to disturb Egyptian-Ethiopian relations," Minister of Military Production Reda Hafez asserted on Monday.
The Sudan Tribune reported the allegation on 3 September, citing a 2010 internal email leaked by WikiLeaks, which suggested that Sudan had agreed to build an Egyptian airbase in the country’s Darfur region to be used for assaults on Ethiopian dams should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile water-sharing.
Egypt is involved in a long-running dispute with the Nile Basin’s upstream countries over water rights as the latter continue to contest the shares allocated by colonial-era treaties giving Egypt the largest share of the continent's longest river.
Under the treaties, Egypt is entitled to 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of the Nile's total annual flow of around 84bcm.
Egypt is concerned that Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a huge hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, about 40 kilometres from the border with Sudan, will damage its vital flow of water when completed.