Sisi affirms sticking to diplomacy on GERD; says nobody will compromise Egypt’s water share

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Jun 2022

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has stressed that Egypt adheres to “diplomacy and patience” with regards to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue, though he added that “nobody will compromise Egypt’s [share of] water.”

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi meets with journalists and media professionals after the inauguration of the integrated animal and dairy production complex and mechanised slaughterhouses in the industrial city of Sadat in Menoufiya governorate, 13 June 2022. Still image/Egyptian Presidency


El-Sisi made the comments in a statement to the press after he inaugurated on Monday an integrated animal and dairy production complex and mechanised slaughterhouses in the industrial city of Sadat in Menoufiya governorate.

Ethiopia has announced plans to unilaterally implement the third phase of filling the mega-dam’s reservoir in August and September, even though it has not reached a legally-binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan on the filling and operation of the dam.

Ethiopia unilaterally proceeded with the first two phases of filling the reservoir during the past two years, and started the first phase of energy production from the dam in February despite the two downstream countries’ objections.

In his meeting with the press on Monday, El-Sisi also shed light on projects Egypt is carrying out to benefit from and reuse water.

In December, Egypt said it invested EGP 16 billion in 2021 in water projects across the country – which is deemed one of the most water-scarce countries in the world – to rationalise water use and create water additional resources.

Controlling prices

During his meeting with the press, El-Sisi said the state is capable of controlling commodity prices until the end of the year amid the current global crisis.

He noted that the state has reserves of strategic commodities that are sufficient for six months.

"Until the end of the year, we as a state can control prices through other initiatives,” Sisi said. The president noted that he has never talked about the consumption rate of commodities, but said: “I think minimal spending would help us.”

El-Sisi expressed thanks to farmers for supplying nearly 4 million tons of wheat during this harvest season, noting that these quantities, along with the already available wheat, would be enough for the coming six months.

During the complex inauguration earlier today, El-Sisi said that the state is exerting its "utmost possible" efforts to curb the rising prices resulting from the global crisis, most recently the Russia-Ukraine war.

El-Sisi also said the government has decided to postpone the scheduled hike in household electricity prices for the third time in a row in order to ease the people's burden, especially low-income citizens.

Libya, prioritising national interests

The president also discussed the Libyan issue in light of Cairo’s hosting of the third round of talks on constitutional amendments for elections that started on Sunday and is set to continue until 19 June.

El-Sisi said Egypt seeks to encourage the Libyan brothers to prioritise the interest of their country over any other interests and to prevent the country from sliding into armed confrontations.

Egypt is working “very seriously” on resolving the Libyan crisis through the Constitutional Track Committee meetings and the 5+5 military commission talks, the president added.

Gulf investments

El-Sisi also hailed the Gulf countries for providing support to Egypt, expressing hope that the money deposited by the Arab countries will be transformed into investments.

"Egypt's population is about 100 million and we have promising investment opportunities," the president added.

In March, Saudi Arabia deposited $5 billion in Egypt’s Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), raising the money deposited by the kingdom to a total of $10.3 billion.

President El-Sisi expressed thanks to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, noting that the two countries have moved together to support Egypt without Cairo’s request.

National dialogue

Commenting on Egypt’s national dialogue that is set to be launched in the near future, El-Sisi urged all forces to be ready to listen to each other and find common ground.

Egypt will hold its first sessions of the national political dialogue during the first week of July with the involvement of “all political parties without any exception or discrimination” as per El-Sisi’s directives.

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