'Egypt will not stand idle in the face of Ethiopia’s Nile dam,' irrigation minister tells MPs

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 19 Jul 2020

The minister said Egypt has 'internal tools' to address any problems that might result from Ethiopia’s dam

File Photo: A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session (Photo: AP)

Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati told MPs on Sunday morning that “the state will never stand idle in the face of the challenge posed by the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD).”

“It is by no means an easy case and we have a lot of challenges in this respect, but we will never stand still or just stand as spectators,” Abdel-Ati said, adding that “Egypt has internal tools to address the problems that might be caused by the GERD.”

Abdel-Ati said Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is closely following the GERD negotiations.

“A mini African summit on the GERD will be held on Tuesday (21 July),” he said.

Abdel-Ati’s statements came during a meeting held by parliament’s small and medium-scale enterprises committee to explore the possibility of offering loans to farmers who wish to modernise their irrigation systems.

Abdel-Ati said the ministry’s strategy focuses on rationalising the use of Nile water in agricultural projects.

“For example, the state is expanding on the use of sprinkling irrigation systems instead of the old-fashioned flood irrigation system which has been in use in Egypt since ancient times,” he said, adding that the government is keen on helping farmers obtain soft-term loans to adopt modern irrigation systems that can save water.

Kamal Marei, head of the small and medium enterprises committee, said the Egyptian people are following the progress of negotiations over Ethiopia’s dam because the Nile water is a matter of life and death.

“We have full confidence that the country’s political leadership is keen to have the GERD negotiations achieve the country’s supreme interests,” Marie said.

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