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Egypt foreign minister says water safe despite Ethiopia dam threat

Published: Updated:

Egypt’s foreign minister has said that moves by Ethiopia to resume filling its vast dam on the Nile in the coming months would not adversely affect water supplies to Egyptians.

“(Egyptians can) rest assured that we have enough water supplies in the Aswan Dam reservoir,” Sameh Shoukry said in an interview with an Egyptian talkshow host.

“We are confident the second filling of the dam by Ethiopia won’t affect Egyptian water interests adversely. We can deal with it through strict management of our water resources.”

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Shoukry was speaking late Tuesday from Paris, where he was accompanying President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for an international summit on Sudan.

Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile has sparked fears in downstream nations Sudan and Egypt, which fear for their own vital water supplies.

Cairo and Khartoum have been pushing for a binding deal on the filling of the vast reservoir behind the dam.

But Ethiopia has said it will push ahead with a second phase of filling in July and August, even if no agreement has been reached.

Shoukry warned that “Egypt will spare no effort in defending its water interests and taking measures to preserve them” if Addis Ababa uses the mega-dam “for any other purpose than what it is originally intended for – generating electricity.”

Ethiopia says power produced by the GERD will be vital to meet the needs of its 110 million-strong population, and has vowed to continue with the second stage of filling the dam’s reservoir as scheduled during the upcoming rainy season.
Egypt relies on the Nile for almost all of its water.

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