Egypt declares water security top priority

Egypt's President made the remark with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam while discussing regional development matters with Kenya's President.

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Egypt declares water security top priority
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (Left) with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi [PHOTO/COURTESY]

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in a discussion with his Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta said that Water security is Egypt’s top priority as it is a matter of national security.

President Al-Sisi made the remark with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which, according to Egyptian authority, is a threat to the country’s water security.

On his way back to Kenya from France, President Uhuru stopped by Egypt to discuss regional development matters and issues of mutual interest with President Al-Sisi.

Al-Sisi said that Egypt is seeking a legally binding agreement with Ethiopia that guarantees clear rules for the filling and operating of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a bid to protect its water rights.

The agreement would also achieve the common interests of all parties, with a further agreement made to intensify coordination between Egypt and Kenya on this vital issue during the coming period.

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While Egypt is seeking to address the water security issue, Ethiopia is keen to see the disputed giant hydropower dam running and generating power in the next 12 months.

Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde, in a speech to parliament on Monday said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power this year with the two installed turbines.

The Us $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project is the main reason why Ethiopia is locked in a dispute with Egypt and Sudan, and is the reason why Cairo is raising concern over its main supply of water. Ethiopia sees the dam as crucial for its economic growth while Egypt and Sudan, both of which are downstream, fear the large dam will greatly reduce their access to water.

President Al-Sisi and Uhuru engaged in bilateral relations talks where they expressed keenness to develop cooperation between the two countries, with Al-Sisi promising to provide Kenya with development expertise relating to major national projects focusing particularly on infrastructure, housing, utilities and roads.