Source: The National
Letter sent to top UN body stresses Cairo’s willingness to come to arrangement with Addis Ababa
News of the letter broke late on Wednesday night in an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement about a phone call between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Urmas Reinsalu, his counterpart from Estonia, which currently chairs the 15-member council.
The ministry did not release the full text of the letter, saying only that it was sent recently.
Egypt, the most populous Arab nation with 100 million people, depends on the Nile for more than 90 per cent of its water needs. It has maintained that a significant reduction in its share of Nile water would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and affect its food security. It has said it appreciates Ethiopia’s development needs and that its goal is to reach an agreement that would reduce the impact of the dam to manageable levels.
Ethiopia denies that the dam would harm Egypt, which it accuses of an unwarranted sense of entitlement to the river’s water.
Sudan, Egypt’s neighbour to the south, is unlikely to be affected by the dam the same way as Egypt since it has an alternative source of water in rainfall and the White Nile, which runs through the entire length of the vast Afro-Arab country.
The White Nile originates in central Africa and merges with the Blue Nile, whose source is on the Ethiopian highlands, in Khartoum to become the river Nile that flows across the deserts of northern Sudan and across Egypt to the Mediterranean. The Blue Nile contributes about 65 per cent of the water reaching Egypt.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has described Egypt’s water security as an existential issue and vowed that Cairo would never accept a de facto situation imposed on it. Some pro-government media voices have suggested military action to stop the Ethiopians from harming Egypt’s vital water interests. Mr El Sisi, a former military chief, has stated his preference for a negotiated settlement.