Egypt and Sudan must not rely on any external actor…. they have to rely on themselves…I fully support president Al-SiSi as he declared that the waters of Egypt are untouchable, and touching them is a red line”
In the light of the latest tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the dead-end negotiations of the “Renaissance Dam”, the European North African Centre for Research hosted a live Webinar on the 1st of May to discuss
possible peace alternatives to the crisis.
The Webinar was moderated by Sara Kira, EUNCAR’s director, and hosted the following key figures and experts; Dr Sherif Al Gabaly, Dr Ahmed Soliman Al Gomiyi, Ramy Zohdi, and Dr. Javier Porras participated as speakers at the webinar
Key points- Dr Sherif Al Gabaly
- The international community must play a greater role in this complicated conflict. “We as Egyptians demand a binding agreement sponsored by the four major international institutions concerned with this issue (the African Union – the European Union – the United States of America – the United Nations) in order to ensure that Ethiopia will accept the agreement. International recognition is a must to safeguard the Egyptian and Sundanese rights.” Said Dr El Gabali.
- “In contrast to the values of the European Union, Egypt’s destabilization is against the European Union’s advantage as Egypt is a large country and has its respectful status in the Mediterranean and in the Middle East. Any instability that will affect Egypt can cast a shadow over the region and may cause many problems such as illegal immigration.”
- “Ethiopia has established its determination to continue with the second filling of the dam from the logic of imposing a fait accompli on everyone. There are some forces that encourage and support it to do so. Egypt and Sudan must take an action to put an end to this. Ethiopia talks about a new world order, in which Egypt must accept the new realities. Ethiopians believe that the river to their country. This believe is not based on any fact and comes short as an illusion, because the river is a God given gift and no country can claim its ownership.
- The problem is not only how to manage the dam, but also the construction process of the dam itself, which is marred by many technical problems.”
- “The obstinate Ethiopian stance will inevitably lead to depriving the Egyptians and Sudanese of water, which will lead to the destruction of these countries.”
Key points – Dr Ahmed Soliman Al Gomiyi
- From his point of view, as an expert in the field, the dam construction process is marred by many technical problems. Illustrating that during the construction period, Ethiopia hid all information and details about the dam from Egypt and Sudan. In addition, it refused to cooperate regarding technical details.
- “There are no international insurance company will agree to ensure the dam because all companies know from the outset the risks and problems related to it as the dam is not safe.”
- “Some people claim that Egypt was the cause of the flood that occurred in Sudan by closing the High Dam. This is a total misconception and it aims to stir up discord between the two sides. The closure of the High Dam has great damage to Egypt as it is to Sudan.”
- “It is suggested for Sudan to start the procedures of claiming its land which has been annexed by Ethiopia and in which the Renaissance Dam (Benishangul) is located.”
- “Egypt and Sudan must not rely on the African Union, the European Union, or the United States. Because their mediation may be tainted by the suspicion of impartiality and impartiality, and that they only rely on themselves.”
- “In case the Renaissance Dam collapses, the Zinar Dam and the Rossiras Dam will collapse too. Khartoum would submerge and would be 26 meters below the surface of the water. The island project will also be destroyed, and collapse effects will extend to the Abu Hamad area. If the dam collapse, Egypt will be affected by the flood, especially since the river’s velocity will be great leading to the destruction or collapse of the High Dam or its subsequent destruction. Ethiopia could dry up the river completely if it continued to store water for a year and a half. The dam’s storage capacity is 74 billion cubic meters. If the Blue Nile water is stored, it can completely dry up the river.”
- “Ethiopia is taking this action as a matter of imposing an unaccepted reality, controlling and imposing a new geopolitical policy. The statement by the Ethiopian Foreign Minister that the Nile has become an Ethiopian lake is a very, very dangerous statement that should not have been said.”
- “The question that raises the grudge of specialists, why is it stored 74 billion in particular? Because it is the combined share of Egypt and Sudan from the flowing waters of the Nile. “
Key points- Dr. Javier Porras
- “The European Union is not much concerned with the issue of the Renaissance Dam and lacks much information in this regard.”
- “The interest may be present but within the framework of certain countries because of their role in the Middle East. This is also case in France or even Germany. However, on the level of collective European actions, this matter is not on the list of their priorities at the present time.”
- “It is possible to benefit from European experience in this matter and to form an independent and supranational body that brings together all the Nile River’s countries and decide what they will interfere in terms of disputes and has the final word in resolving disputes that arise in this context as it is the case in the previous European experience.”
- “European countries understand Egypt’s rights in Nile’s water, and its right to access water is considered a human right as recognized by the United Nations. Though the Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian conflict is extremely complex.”
- “The dispute over the waters of the Nile River falls within the work of international law and is not an internal matter or a matter of sovereignty, as Ethiopia claims, because the Nile is an international river in which many countries have an access to it.”
Key points- Ramy Zohdy
- “Egypt, like Ethiopia, possesses Nile’s water. Therefore, it is unreasonable for Ethiopia to consider selling water to a partner country in the river. Ethiopia may have ambitions to sell water, and this is possible but not to Egypt or Sudan.”
- “Any Instability regarding the Nile may harm Ethiopian interests, and it will be the most affected in this regard. Moreover, there is no investor willing to pump money into unstable projects such as the GRED.”
- “We respect our Ethiopian fellows’ rights in development, and we share all their wishes in prosperity and growth for the Ethiopian people, but it should not be on the account of the Egyptian people.”
- “The escalation of the GERD’s case disagreement will make the region reach to an unbearable level of Instability whether it is political, economic, or societal.”
- “The opportunities for cooperation and integration between Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and the Nile Basin countries in general are much greater and closer to reality than the opportunities for incompatibility or conflict over water, in a decisive conflict that Egypt will not give up a single drop of its legitimate water right and the right of the Egyptian people to live, and the river that God guides its course. Humans will never be able to stop it.”
- Opening channels of communication between the Egyptian side and the European side through the North African European Center for Research, especially with regard to the role of parliaments and civil society on both sides to introduce the issue and the historical rights of Egypt and Sudan.
- Establishing a committee for communication between the European Parliament and the Egyptian Parliament so that Egyptian parliamentarians can convey the Egypt’s vision and its point of view regarding the dam crisis and to also provide real information regarding this issue away from the Ethiopian propaganda.
- The Research center, through its experts, will present a proposal to the Egyptian side with the names of European parliamentarians who can be contacted in this regard.
- The Research Center, through its experts, will work to present proposals that the Egyptian side can implement to draw the attention of the European side and the international community to the rightness of the Egyptian demands to their share of the Nile’s water.
- Working closely with other Egyptian as well as Sudanese civil society and research centers to raise awareness among scholars and the people regarding the facts of the crisis.