Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, in his speech to the Security Council on Monday evening to discuss the Renaissance Dam crisis, said that his country rejects the threat to its water security.
Shoukry added that Egypt resorted to the Security Council after what he described as “Ethiopian intransigence” in the Renaissance Dam negotiations.
Shoukry said that his country faces an “existential danger” threatening the only source of water and the lives of more than 100 million Egyptians because of the dam, which Ethiopia built on the Blue Nile.
Shukri added that filling the dam and operating it unilaterally, without reaching an agreement that includes the necessary measures to protect the rights of the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, would increase tension in the region, and could result in crises and conflicts threatening its stability.
“While we appreciate the importance of this project in achieving the development goals of the Ethiopian people, which is the goal that we support and support, it is necessary to realize that a project of this size, which is the largest project to generate hydroelectric power in Africa, threatens the capabilities and presence of millions of Egyptians and Sudanese,” he said.
For its part, Ethiopia criticized Egypt’s referral of the Al-Nahda Dam file to the Security Council.
Ethiopia’s delegate to the United Nations, in his speech to the Security Council on Monday, said that referring the issue to the international organization might make it more difficult to find a solution.
He added that “the tripartite negotiations between Egypt and Sudan have not ended yet,” noting that progress has been made in the negotiations.
The Renaissance Dam project aims to become the largest hydropower plant in Africa, and will supply Ethiopia and some neighboring countries with large quantities of electricity.
However, Egypt fears that this project will affect its share of the river’s water, as it relies on the Nile to obtain about 90 percent of its water needs. Cairo fears the project will lead to a decline in its share of river water.
Ethiopia asserts that the multi-billion-dollar Renaissance Dam project is necessary for the country’s economic development.
There are fears that the construction of the dam will lead to Ethiopian control of the longest river in Africa, while Egypt wants to fill the dam over a longer period so that the river level does not drop suddenly.
The United States stepped in to assist in the negotiations in 2019, and issued a statement earlier indicating that an agreement had been reached, and urged Ethiopia to adhere to it formally.