The Support Egypt Coalition, a pro-government parliamentary coalition that controls 350 parliament seats, welcomed the visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to Egypt to address the Egyptian people in the House of Representatives.
The coalition considered it an opportunity to improve relations between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, while some opposition MPs have refused the visit and continued to collect signatures refusing to receive Desalegn.
The spokesman for the coalition, MP Salah Hasballah, said that the role of parliament and popular diplomacy must be activated to improve the situation regarding the Renaissance Dam file and that the rejection of the visit to address the Egyptian parliament undermines those efforts.
In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Hasballah said that Desalegn’s visit is an opportunity to open a dialogue and understanding about Egypt’s historical rights in the Nile River and achieve the development targeted by the Ethiopian people. He pointed out that the refusal by some MPs to visit gives an opportunity to other countries against Egypt to fill this political and diplomatic vacuum.
The spokesman said the position of those who reject the visit represents “fake heroism” and that the real heroism is to take responsibility and conduct extensive and high-level dialogues with the Ethiopian side, in order to preserve Egypt’s rights in the waters of the Nile and not to deal with the stalemate of the Ethiopian position as a final decision.
19 Egyptian MPs have submitted an urgent memorandum to the Parliamentary Speaker, Ali Abdelaal, rejecting the scheduled visit of Desalegn to the Egyptian Parliament, in order to discuss the potential dangers of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
MP Imad Gad said that the parliament expresses the will of the Egyptian people. The memorandum of signatures is a protest message against the Ethiopian government’s position on the Renaissance Dam negotiations.
MP Samir Ghattas said that the MPs have legitimate concerns that the Ethiopian position, which works hard to discount a large part of Egypt’s share of the Nile water, should be passed with the approval of the government and through the parliament.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm