Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atty has said that the state will not allow a water crisis to occur in Egypt.
“We are studying all scenarios in all disciplines in the various sectors of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation,” he added.
Abdel Atty’s remarks came during a dialogue organised by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation on Saturday.
The minister said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has serious defects that have been announced as well as other defects not announced.
He affirmed that the state is working around the clock, and will take the right decision at the right time according to the national interests.
“Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation has participated in the construction of many dams in African countries,” he said.
Abdel Atty pointed out that the problem with the Ethiopian dam is its size, besides issues with the management and joint operation as Egypt desires.
The minister stressed that Ethiopia does not have the political will to reach a legally binding agreement on filling and operation of the dam.
The statements came two days after a United Nations (UN) Security Council session was devoted to discussing the issue of Ethiopia’s controversial dam. It returned the issue of the GERD to the African Union (AU), calling on the three countries involved, namely Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, to proceed with the negotiation path without specifying a time limit, as demanded by Egypt and Sudan.
During Thursday’s session, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that the AU-led process has reached a dead end. He added that his country will defend the interests of its citizens by all available means.
The Egyptian minister added, “If our rights are threatened, we will have nothing left but to protect our inherent right to life.”
Shoukry also said that every effort must be made, through the UN Security Council, to prevent the dam from becoming a threat to Egypt’s existence.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tweeted in Arabic assuring the Sudanese and Egyptian peoples that “they will never be subjected to significant harm because of the filling of the GERD”. He noted that the dam will be a source of cooperation between the three countries.
Ahmed concluded by saying that by doing so, the communities around the River Nile would be assured of achieving mutual prosperity.
Abdel Atty mentioned, during the Saturday meeting, his ministry’s latest projects to enhance Egypt’s water management system.
“With regard to the national project to line the canals, 2,100 km have been completed nationwide,” he said.
The minister added that, by the end of the current fiscal year, another 5,000 km will be completed, which “is considered a miracle”. He noted that there is a large programme that is being prepared with long-term and easy instalment periods for farmers wishing to use the modern irrigation systems.