Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Tuesday said “Egypt will not give up a single drop of its share of the Nile water,” local media reported, shortly after Ethiopia called the historic water-sharing treaties on the River Nile “unacceptable”.
Madbouly said the state is intensifying its efforts to address the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue.
“The concerned authorities and ministries are exerting double efforts to preserve our water resources,” reports quoted Madbouly as saying.
The premier added that Egypt is on top of the countries that highly preserve and maximize their water resources.
He affirmed that the state has carried out development projects as part of its efforts to “ensure every drop of water is preserved, including the construction of more seawater desalination plants."
Other measures to preserve water included the reuse of agricultural and industrial drainage water after it undergoes treatment in accordance with the internationally-recognized means, Madbouly added.
The latest African Union-sponsored talks in Kinshasa between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the GERD earlier this month collapsed.
Upstream Ethiopia has reiterated its plans to go ahead with the second filling of the dam in July despite Egyptian and Sudanese objections.
The two downstream countries have warned that filling the dam without a binding agreement poses threats to their people and water rights.
Egypt and Sudan seek an international mediation and engagement to ensure a deal on the filling and operation of the dam is reached before this filling phase.
Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dina Mufti earlier on Tuesday took a hard line against Egypt and Sudan, accusing them of not seeking the success of the ongoing African Union (AU) mediation of the GERD dispute.
He also voiced his country’s rejection of the historical agreements on shares of the Nile waters upheld as points of reference by the two downstream countries in the talks.
The historical treaties Mufti is referring include the 1959 Egypt-Sudan Nile waters agreement, which allows both countries full, rather than partial, use of Nile waters, and confirms Egypt’s right to 55.5 bcm annually, and Sudan to 18.5 bcm.
The 1959 agreement supplements the 1929 Nile Waters agreement, which was signed between Egypt and Great Britain, which represented Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Sudan at the time, and gives Cairo the right to veto projects higher up the Nile that affect its water share.