Egypt's Morsi, top officials mull response to Ethiopia dam move
Ahram Online, Thursday 30 May 2013
Egyptian officialdom awaits outcome of tripartite commission's report on Ethiopian dam project – expected on Sunday – before deciding on appropriate response

President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday met with Defence Minister Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and General Intelligence head Rafaat Shehata to discuss recent developments in Sinai and Egypt's position regarding Ethiopian plans to build a series of dams on the Nile.

According to presidential spokesman Ehab Fahmy, meeting attendees discussed the options available to Egypt to deal with Ethiopia's 'Renaissance Dam' project and the project's potential impact on Egypt and its share of Nile water.

Fahmy also stated that talks were ongoing with Ethiopian officials in an effort to reach an agreement to the "mutual benefit" of both countries.

President Morsi, Fahmy said, had also discussed the issue with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Omar and Water Resources Minister Mohamed Bahaa El-Din.

At a press conference held earlier on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Fahmy said that the presidency would "not allow anyone to threaten Egypt's supply of Nile water."

Egypt supports development projects in Africa "as long as they don't affect Egypt's national security," the presidential spokesman stressed. He went on to note that President Morsi was keen to cooperate with "all African states" on water-sharing issues.

At a press conference convened following the meeting with the president, Bahaa El-Din declared that the Egypt had ruled out a military response in the event that Ethiopia insisted on going ahead with its dam project.

The minister added that a report on the dam project by an international tripartite commission – consisting of representatives from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – would be issued on Sunday.

If the report concluded that the Ethiopian dam project would adversely affect Egypt, Bahaa El-Din said that Egypt would prepare "a number of scenarios."