Cairo (UNA-OIC) – Mustafa Khallaf, the Egyptian researcher and columnist, warned against the danger of regional and Ethiopian schemes to cancel the historical Nile Water Agreements between the Basin countries, in light of the repercussions of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis and the potential regional conflicts that threaten the whole region.
In his recent scientific study published in a book entitled “The Renaissance Dam …The Game of Water Banks in Nile Basin Countries”, Khallaf outlined the repercussions of the Ethiopian dam on various forms of life in Egypt. He noted that what is being done reveals one of the most dangerous scenarios that have been planned for years – it is summed up in the establishment of a group of dams along the Ethiopian Plateau to store and control the Nile waters, which Egypt repelled in various stages of its history.
Khallaf, who specializes in economic, agriculture and water affairs, said the study discloses a dubious scheme aimed at harming Egypt’s water interests and canceling agreements that confirm the Egyptian historical right to Nile water, and its share of 55.5 million cubic meters. He indicated that Ethiopia seeks, by constructing this mega dam, to completely abolish the role of the High Dam and control the quantities of water flowing to the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
The researcher discussed in his book, published by Awaraq Publishing & Distribution, the dimensions of the GERD crisis and water pricing, as well as the effort made by Egypt over the past years during negotiations with Ethiopia up to that final round, held under the sponsorship of the United States in the hope of reaching a fair agreement that guarantees no negative impacts of the Nile mega-dam.
He said that Egypt signed the Declaration of Principles on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2015 to show its good intentions and strengthen the principle of mutual trust with the Nile Basin countries in laying down fair and balanced solutions, but it was surprised by Ethiopia’s withdrawal from the final round of the US-mediated negotiations in Washington.
The Egyptian columnist stated that Ethiopia and other regional powers are seeking to convert the GERD to be the world’s first water bank, through which water is used as a commodity, sold and bought like oil. He noted that this was presented lightly at previous times in the World Bank’s papers and studies.
Khallah added the Nile waters were and will remain coveted and a theatre for direct and indirect international interventions. He underscored that Egypt has made great efforts throughout history to secure the arrival of Nile River waters to its lands because it realizes that the Nile represents the lifeline to the Egyptian people.
He went on to say that Egypt has, over many years, sacrificed thousands of its people, who engaged in successive campaigns, especially during the ones that started since the era of Muhammad Ali and up to the era of Khedive Ismail, to secure the sources of the Nile and repel the continuous threats from Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
The columnist noted that Egypt provided all support to African countries, particularly the Nile Basin countries, adding that Cairo did not object to the GERD project as long as it would not affect its share of the Nile water.
Khallaf affirmed that with Egypt’s growing population, in conjunction with the new horizontal expansion projects, the demand for water will increase at a high rate during the coming period as a result of the increased demand for food, and to meet the different requirements of life. However, he warned that 85 percent of Egypt’s share of the Nile water comes from outside the Egyptian state borders, specifically from the Ethiopian Highlands.
The researcher emphasized that the GERD project still represents a threat to Egypt in light of Ethiopia’s intransigence and equivocation, including its withdrawal from negotiations that were taking place under the auspices of the US and the World Bank, while there are undisguised differences over the filling and storage period as well as the management strategies for the dam.
The study concluded that the dam crisis uncovers the truth about the previously promoted water norms that have now become a reality threatening Egypt’s water interests. It also showed that these new concepts include water pricing and creation of water bank and exchange.