Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Mohamed Abdel Aty, renewed his country's support for development in the Nile Basin countries on Sunday, provided that the interests of the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, are taken into consideration, the New Khalij has reported. Abdel Aty said that Egypt objects to all unilateral action from the Nile source countries.
The minister called for a binding legal agreement to fill and operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Ethiopia insists on negotiations, under the auspices of the African Union, over its plan to fill the reservoir behind the dam, and is determined to start the second phase of the filling in July. Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been engaged in stalled negotiations over the Renaissance Dam and their respective share of Nile water for years, without any tangible results.
During the opening session of the First International Water Conference in Baghdad, the Egyptian minister added that cooperation between the riparian countries for studying, implementing and operating dams and infrastructure projects is the best model for benefiting mutual interests and strengthening good relations.
Abdel Aty pointed out that, throughout history, Egypt has been and remains keen to provide financial, building and technical support for the construction of dams. He cited the Jabal Al-Awliya Dam in Sudan, Owen Falls Dam in Uganda, Rufiji Dam in Tanzania and the Wau Dam project in South Sudan. Moreover, he pointed to the technical support provided to the Congo to establish a flood warning centre in the capital, Kinshasa.
The Egyptian minister warned of the weakness of Egyptian water resources, noting that 97 per cent of the country's renewable water resources come from beyond its borders. There are also increasing temperatures and rising sea levels to contend with, as they pose a great threat to the Nile Delta.