A file photo of Egypt's Parliament (Photo: Reuters)
The deputy speaker of the Egyptian parliament has said that Egypt will not stand helpless in the face of “Ethiopia's conspiracies” and is ready to take all measures necessary to preserve its historical rights to the Nile water.
Soliman Wahdan’s statement comes one day after Egypt's ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation accused Ethiopia of "deliberately" impeding the course of negotiations on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam, after Addis Ababa withdrew from the latest round of US-sponsored talks last week.
The two ministers also expressed deep "displeasure and rejection" of a statement issued by Ethiopia following the talks, in which it vowed to commence filling the dam despite the lack of a final agreement with Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan were expected to sign a final deal on the mega-dam during the two-day talks in Washington which concluded on Friday, but Ethiopia skipped the meetings, citing incomplete domestic discussions.
Wahdan said that Egypt “is now ready to take all possible measures to protect its historical rights to the Nile water, as guaranteed by international laws and conventions."
According to the deputy speaker, Egypt's delegation during the negotiations in Washington last week did a good job.
"The delegation was able to expose Ethiopia's conspiracies and their repeated attempts to win time to complete the building of the dam in any way," said Wahdan, adding that "the Ethiopians tried to show themselves as the weak party throughout the GERD negotiations and that it just seeks to achieve development objectives, but it is Egypt that stand in its way."
"Ethiopia's refusal to take part in the last round of negotiations in Washington and to sign the final US-drafted deal on filling and operating the dam has exposed their malicious intentions to cause harm to the two upstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan," said Wahdan.
According to Wahdan, Egypt's leaders and negotiators exerted a lot of patience in dealing with Ethiopia.
"But I stress that the strategy of the Egyptian leadership in dealing with Ethiopia will take a different course in the coming period, that Egypt will not stand helpless in the face of Ethiopia's conspiracies and that Egypt is ready to use all the tools it has to preserve its historical rights to the Nile water," he said.
Egypt said yesterday it was "surprised" that Ethiopia cited the need for more time to deliberate the matter "after more than five years of full engagement in intensive negotiations that addressed all dimensions and details of this issue."
It dismissed the Ethiopian remarks as "fallacies and distortion of facts," adding that they signal "clear disavowal of Ethiopia's obligations" under international law and a 2015 agreement on the equitable use of the Nile waters.