Sisi: Water issues should not be politicized

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Sun, 14 Oct 2018 - 05:22 GMT

President Sisi and leaders of countries participating in the 2018 Cairo Water Week (CWW) pose for a photo- Press photo

President Sisi and leaders of countries participating in the 2018 Cairo Water Week (CWW) pose for a photo- Press photo

CAIRO - 14 October 2018: Water issues should not be politicized, said Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his meeting with leaders of the states participating in the first Cairo water Week (2018 CWW) on Sunday.

“President Sisi stressed that Egypt strongly believes in cross-border cooperation and calls for not politicizing the water issues, especially amid the growing challenges facing the water sector worldwide,” said Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

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President Sisi meets with leaders of countries participating in the 2018 Cairo Water Week (CWW) pose for a photo- Press photo


“Egypt had and will continue supporting the efforts of its farternal countries to bring mutual benefits from the Nile River without causing harm to the Egyptian people,” Sisi was quoted as saying.

Egypt has entered into a diplomatic and political battle with some Nile basin countries over its share of the Nile water. The disagreement started in 2010, when five Nile basin countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) signed the Entebbe Agreement, per which the two 1929 and 1959 deals conducted during British colonization can be relinquished.

The two deals had allocated 80 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt (55.5 billion), and Sudan (18.5 billion); they also granted Egypt the right to veto against projects that can be established in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan that may cause harm to its share.

To create mutual benefits for the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt has proposed a notion to create a trade shipping route starting from Lake Victoria in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the VICMED project.

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CAIRO - 18 August 2018: To create mutual benefits for the Nile Basin Countries, Egypt has proposed a notion to create a trade shipping route starting from Lake Victoria in Central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the VICMED project. Egypt, which suffers from water scarcity, has launched the notion of a shipping route in 2013.




Moreover, Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the tributary that feeds 80 percent of the Nile’s water to downstream states.

In 2015, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed the Declaration of the Renaissance Dam Principles Charter that tackles the management of the dam with written guarantees, and states that the dam’s reservoir cannot be filled without the approval of Egypt and Sudan. In December 2017, Egypt demanded the intervention of the World Bank in the matter, a move that was rejected by Ethiopia. Unconfirmed reports said that Ethiopia seeks to start filling the GERD’s reservoir during the upcoming Nile flood season in July.

However, a breakthrough was recently witnessed in the ongoing series of discussions among three countries.

In his meeting with the CWW participants, President Sisi affirming Egypt’s keenness to raise the public awareness of water rationalization amid the challenges of climate change, according to Radi.

Egypts first Cairo Water Week (CWW) kicked off on Sunday under the auspices of President Sisi, aiming at increasing the public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid state of water shortage.

The four-day CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.

The 2018 CWW is launched under the title “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”. It aims at fostering awareness of water issues for sustainable development, facing water challenges via non-traditional methods and modern technology, and supporting implementation of integrated water management.

On the sidelines of the CWW, the African Young Water Professionals Forum was held, gathering 24 young people from 12 African countries of Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Ghana , and Morocco.

Meanwhile, the fourth session of the Islamic Conference of OIC for Water Ministers, held on Sunday, Oct. 14 on the sidelines of the CWW.

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