Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned today that the region surrounding Egypt would experience “unthinkable instability” if the Ethiopian dam on the Nile threatens “a drop of water” in Egypt.
“No one can take a drop of water from Egypt, otherwise the region will experience unimaginable instability,” the president told a news conference in Ismailia when asked about the controversial dam. “One should not imagine that it is far from Egypt,” Sisi added, stressing that Egypt’s share of Nile waters is a “red line”.
Ethiopia says the dam’s hydroelectric power will be vital to meet the energy needs of its 110 million people. However, Egypt, which depends on the Nile for 97% of its irrigation and drinking water, considers it a threat to its water supply.
For its part, Sudan fears that its own dams could be damaged if Ethiopia fills the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) before an agreement can be reached.
For his part, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed said last week that Ethiopia “has no intention” of making Egypt suffer with its dam.
“What I want to say to our brothers who live on the other side (in Egypt and Sudan) is to understand that we do not want to live in darkness. We need a light bulb. “
During a conference in Addis Ababa today, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Dina Mufti said that Ethiopia remains in favor of tripartite negotiations in cooperation with the African Union.
“Ethiopia believes that African problems can be solved by the Africans themselves. We respect African wisdom and the current negotiations, which we hope will succeed. ” Sisi clarified, however, that he “does not threaten” and that his country “never threatened”.
“But our reaction in the event that our side of the Nile is affected will affect the stability of the whole region,” he said.
Egypt and Sudan have called on Ethiopia not to fill the dam reservoir before signing an agreement. The issue has been under discussion for almost a decade without any agreement being reached. “In the coming weeks, there will be negotiations and I hope we will reach a binding legal agreement,” Sisi said.