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Egypt will never stand idle on GERD issue: Irrigation Minister

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is closely following negotiations on the Ethiopian dam

by CGTN Jul 20th 2020 · 1 min read

Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati said on Sunday that Egypt will never stand idle in the face of the challenge posed by the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The minster’s statements came during a meeting held by parliament’s small and medium-scale enterprises committee to explore the possibility of offering loans to farmers who wish to modernize their irrigation systems, state-run Ahram Online reported.

“It is by no means an easy case and we have a lot of challenges in this respect, but we will never stand still or just stand as spectators,” Abdel-Ati said. “Egypt has internal tools to address the problems that might be caused by the GERD.”

The Egyptian minister noted that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is closely following the GERD negotiations.

He revealed that the ministry’s current strategy focuses on rationalizing the use of Nile water in agricultural projects, pointing out that the government is now expanding the use of sprinkling irrigation systems instead of the old-fashioned flood irrigation system.

“The government is keen on helping farmers obtain soft-term loans to adopt modern irrigation systems that can save water,” he added.

South Africa, the current chair of the African Union (AU), invited Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to participate in a mini-summit on the GERD on July 21.

The call for the summit came days after the three countries recently ended a round of talks on the GERD without reaching an agreement on the filling of the mega dam.

The three countries sent separate reports to the AU on the progress of the talks, waiting for the mini-summit to come out with a decision regarding the Ethiopian dam.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources

last updated: 2020-07-20@11:07