Egyptian figures back El-Sisi’s Nile dam negotiations

Ahram Online , Tuesday 24 Mar 2015

President El-Sisi signed a declaration of principles with Ethiopia and Sudan, in what is considered Egypt’s tentative solution to solve a dispute over the Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam

Sisi, Al-Bashir and Desalegn
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (C) shakes hands with his Egypian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn after signing an Agreement on the Declaration of Principles on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project in Khartoum March 23, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

A number of national and political figures issued on Monday a document in support of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s efforts to solve a four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements.

El-Sisi signed on Monday in Sudan’s Khartoum a declaration of principles with Ethiopia and Sudan, in what is considered Egypt’s tentative solution to a dispute over the Ethiopia Grand Renaissance Dam.

Egypt fears that the dam, built by Ethiopia to generate electricity for development projects, will affect its own share of the Nile’s potable water supply.

The document, titled “national alignment,” emphasised Egypt’s rights “to maintain and protect the Egyptian people’s historic rights to the Nile water…rights that are inalienable.”

It was signed by veteran farmers’ rights activist Shahenda Maklad, leading member of the National Human Rights Council Kamal El-Helbawy, Journalists’ Syndicate head Yehia Qallash, among others.

The document also stated that “Egypt’s large population requires an increase in its Nile water share and not the other way round.” But it acknowledged “the right of our neighbours and partners, along the Nile Basin, to development and investment.”

It also touched upon some of Egypt’s domestic affairs, such as calling for parliamentary elections and eradicating terrorism.

Following the signing of the declaration in Sudan, El-Sisi flew to Ethiopia where he is scheduled to speak at the Ethiopian parliament on Wednesday.

Egypt has pointed out previously some technical concerns over the dam, including its storage capacity, currently set at 74 billion cubic metres.

Egypt will likely need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current 55 billion cubic metre quota, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.

The Ethiopian 6,000 megawatt dam, set to be Africa's largest, is expected to be fully completed by 2017. Ethiopia has finished constructing at least 40 percent of the dam.


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