Egyptian envoy says military conflict over disputed Blue Nile dam unlikely


Moscow, Aug. 12, 2020 (Sputnik/Naija247news) Egypt says while it has the responsibility to ensure the safety of its people, it has never put forward statements on the possibility of a military solution for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute.

The Egyptian Ambassador to Russia Ihab Nasr made this known in an interview with Sputnik on Wednesday.

“Egypt has never made such statements and assumptions. At the same time, Egypt has to take all measures to guarantee its people’s security,” Nasr said, when asked if the dam dispute could potentially have a military solution.

As pointed out by the diplomat, Egypt is the only Blue Nile basin’s 10 countries whose water security is 97 per cent dependent on the river.

“We are engaged in the negotiations transparently and openly, pursuing to reach a balanced and comprehensive agreement securing the interests of all parties — Ethiopia’s development and the security of our peoples,” Nasr added.

Such an agreement would need to consider different scenarios on the river — both in regular times and emergencies such as drought — to lay out concrete cooperation protocols in each case and work out compliance mechanisms, the ambassador said.

Nasr specifically emphasised the importance of ensuring the dam’s resilience both with regard to the geographic and constructional considerations to prevent its collapse.

In a July interview with Sputnik, Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia Alemayehu Tegenu Aargau rejected the possibility of a military conflict for the dam, too.

The dam has been under construction by Ethiopia since 2012 and set to become Africa’s largest, but Egypt and Sudan fear it might jeopardise their own water security.

The three countries have held dozens of rounds of talks but have failed to agree on how soon the dam should be filled.

Cairo has proposed to extend the filling for 10 years, while Ethiopia has insisted on doing it in three years.
Should the time frame be that short, downstream Egypt and Sudan fear they might fall short of 25 billion cubic meters of water annually with subsequent drought and crop failure.

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