Egypt’s Sisi warns of dire consequences

EGYPT’S President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said yesterday that there would be severe regional consequences if Egypt’s water supply were affected by a giant hydropower dam being built by Ethiopia.

Egypt, along with its southern neighbour Sudan, is seeking a legally binding agreement over the operations of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Addis Ababa says is crucial to its economic development.

However, talks have repeatedly stalled and Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam last year with no deal in place.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Photo: Paul Kagame/flickr

It is expected to add water for a second year after seasonal rains start this summer.

“I’m not threatening anyone here, our dialogue is always reasonable and rational,” Sisi said in a response to a question about any risk to Egypt.

“I say once again no one can take a drop from Egypt’s water and if it happens there will be inconceivable instability in the region.”

The construction of the dam, on the Blue Nile close to Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, has heightened regional tensions, with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan both pressing for a deal.

Egypt fears the dam will imperil its supplies of Nile water while Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and about regulating water flows through its own dams and water stations.

“Ethiopia doesn’t have any intention to cause harm to Sudan and Egypt. But we also don’t want to live in darkness,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said last week.

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