Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s statements on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) during a Tuesday visit to the Suez Canal drew widespread international agreement from countries such as the US, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Oman and Yemen among others.
“Egypt’s water is a red line. Any action would affect the stability of the region as a whole… There is further movement in the negotiations during the coming period to reach a binding legal agreement with all parties regarding the filling and operation of the GERD dam,” the President explained.
“No one can take a single drop of water from Egypt.”
His speech was met with wide agreement in Egypt, with many citizens quoting the speech online, including other statements such as: “We don’t talk much… We don’t threaten anyone; but whoever wants to test (us) he is welcome to come closer (our share of water), and our reaction will affect the stability of the entire region.”
The Saudi Al-Hadath channel quoted statements from a US State Department official commenting on the statements, saying: “The GERD represents a major issue for Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, and we support constructive cooperation efforts to reach an arrangement regarding the Renaissance Dam.”
Saudi Foreign Ministry
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement stressing its support for Egypt and Sudan’s stance on the issue.
The kingdom affirmed that the water security of Egypt and Sudan is inseparable from Arab security at large, and that Saudi Arabia supports all efforts to end the GERD dilemma in a manner that meets the interest of all involved parties.
Its statement stressed that negotiations must continue in order to reach a fair and binding agreement as soon as possible in accordance with international laws and standards.
The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement declaring Bahrain’s solidarity with Egypt in preserving its national and water security.
It affirmed its support towards all efforts made to resolve the crisis in a manner that fairly fulfills the desires of downstream nations for development and in the interest of peace, security and stability in the region.
The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in Sudan’s statement had its Minister of Energy and Petroleum Jaden Ali Obaid warned that the second filling of the dam will impact electrical energy production in Sudan.
During a meeting with the US special envoy to Sudan Donald Booth, Obaid explained that the timing of the second phase of GERD from June to August will decrease the Nile’s water level to its lowest point, which will impact hydro-generating stations and the production of electric power in Sudan.
Sultanate of Oman
The Omani Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it supports resolving the dispute through dialogue and negotiation in a way that preserves the rights of all Nile Basin countries and achieves stability for the region.
The Yemeni government expressed its solidarity with Egypt during its efforts to find a just solution in the GERD, stressing that water security for Egypt is an integral part of Arab national security.
Its statement stressed the importance of not taking unilateral steps that would harm Egypt’s interests and to preserve water rights for the downstream countries, while achieving development for the Nile Basin countries in accordance with international law.