Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain voice support to Egypt, Sudan over GERD

MENA , Ahram Online , Wednesday 31 Mar 2021

Earlier on Tuesday, President Sisi warned of instability in the region if Egypt's water share was compromised

A file photo of GERD
A file photo of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia (Photo:Reuters)

Saudi Arabia expressed on Tuesday its solidarity with Egypt and Sudan and support to their efforts to protect their shares to the Nile River’s water, stressing that their water security is part and parcel of the Arab region’s security.

In a statement cited by the Saudi Press Agency, the kingdom said it backs all endeavors aiming to resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute and serve the interest of all parties involved.

It called for continuing negotiations in good faith to reach a fair and binding deal that serves the benefit of all the disputing sides and protects the water rights of all Nile Basin countries at the earliest possible time in line with international law and fundamental norms.

The Sultanate of Oman also expressed on Tuesday its solidarity with Egypt's efforts to resolve the dispute over Ethiopia's giant hydro-electric dam.

In a statement posted by the Omani Foreign Ministry on its Twitter account on Tuesday, the ministry stressed its support for Egypt's dispute resolution efforts through dialogue and negotiations to ensure regional stability and protect the interests of all the parties involved. 

The Kingdom of Bahrain also voiced its solidarity with Egypt on Tuesday in preserving its national and water security, protecting the interests of its people and its legitimate right to life, as well as its sincere efforts to achieve regional peace and stability, Bahrain News Agency reported.

The Bahraini foreign ministry expressed the kingdom's support for the efforts made to solve the crisis of filling and operating the GERD in a way that preserves the water and economic rights of downstream states in accordance with international law.

It stressed the need for Nile Basin countries to be able to achieve their ambitions for development and economic growth, in order to preserve security, peace, and stability in the region.

The statements came shortly after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s statements on the GERD during his press conference at the Suez Canal on Tuesday.

“A compromise to Egypt’s water share is a red line, and our response [if our water share is affected] will affect the stability of the whole region,” he told reporters in comments over the continued deadlock in the negotiations with Ethiopia over the GERD since January.

“No one can take a drop of water from Egypt,” El-Sisi said, adding that “If it happens, there will be inconceivable instability in the region that no one could imagine,”

Egypt and Sudan are demanding that Ethiopia sign a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation policies of The GERD before it starts its second filling in July.

From its side, Ethiopia says that it will go on with the second filling whether it reaches an agreement with the two Downstream countries or not.

Egypt’s 100 million-plus population is dependent on the Nile water for 95 percent of its renewable water needs.

The country fears that the massive $4.8 billion Ethiopian hydropower project will significantly diminish its crucial water supply, which is already below scarcity level.

Meanwhile, Sudan fears the GERD will put the operation of its Roseires dam and the lives of Sudanese citizens – approximately 20 million Sudanese people – at “a very high risk” if an agreement regulating its operation and filling is not reached before the second filling

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