Egypt’s prime minister Mostafa Madbouly addresses parliament on 9 October, 2019. (Al-Ahram)
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has accused Ethiopia of backtracking on all previous agreements related to the Nile water.
In a statement delivered before parliament on Wednesday, Madbouly said that Ethiopia took a unilateral decision in 2011 to build its Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD).
"This unilateral decision was in violation of international agreements, and despite this fact we choose dialogue to reach agreement with Ethiopia," said Madbouly.
Madbouly said that Ethiopia displayed very radical positions in the latest round of negotiations held in Khartoum and rejected all proposals submitted by Egypt to solve the differences.
“Ethiopia’s radical positions represent a violation of the declaration of principles reached by the presidents of Egypt, Sudan and the prime minister of Ethiopia in Khartoum on 23 March 2015,” said Madbouly.
The prime minister added that “it is quite clear that Ethiopia wants to impose the status quo on Egypt, and so we find that it has become very difficult to reach agreements with Ethiopia and negotiations have reached a deadlock.”
Madbouly indicated that Egypt is moving to implement Article 10 of the declaration of principles, which allows any of the three countries to seek a mediator that can resolve differences in a scientific way.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt is proposing that the World Bank act as a mediator in this respect.
Shoukry said that Egypt will never allow Ethiopia to impose the status quo and that Egypt has the power not only to protect its rights to the Nile water but also to resort to international law in this respect.
Shoukry said that upon instructions from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, all state authorities have moved to intensify communications with all concerned international organisations in order to overcome all obstacles.
Madbouly said that irrespective of the GERD problem, Egypt has begun setting up a large number of desalination plants and rationalising the use of water.
“We want to assure every Egyptian that the government is implementing a number of giant water projects until 2037,” said Madbouly.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal urged Ethiopia to exercise wisdom and to show respect for Egypt’s rights.
“I want to tell MPs not to jump to hasty conclusions, we still have a lot of diplomatic and peaceful channels, but in the end, there is a red line that none should cross, and Egypt will never allow the loss of any drop of Nile water,” said Abdel-Aal.