Egypt’s former minister of irrigation Hossam Moghazy said that there are many misunderstandings regarding the issue of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which aim to shake the confidence of citizens in the state and its ability to maintain Egypt’s Nile water share.
“It must be made clear that Egypt will not give up the rights of Egyptians in the Nile and the Ethiopian side is well aware of this,” Moghazy said, adding, “Ethiopia has pledged not to fill the dam before the studies carried out by specialised offices are complete. Everything else is a lie. This can easily be confirmed through looking at satellite images.”
Regarding the Sudanese role, Moghazy said that Sudan is playing a positive role, unlike what is being said, and it has helped Egypt overcome many obstacles it faced in regards to the dam issue.
Moghazy added that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said, in a clear message to Ethiopia, that if the dam means development for Ethiopians, Egypt understands and appreciates that, but to Egypt, it is a matter of life.
He pointed out that the issue of the GERD and the Nile River is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Irrigation or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but that everybody contributes with their knowledge and works as an integrated team. Egypt is negotiating, and it will be remembered that Egypt knocked on all doors and negotiated with all parties over the two years Moghazy was in office, as there was great cooperation between all statesmen, he said.
He added that Egyptian negotiators are patriots, who have responsibilities and ambitions to solve this issue. He said that they are aware that there are historical responsibilities on their shoulders and that history will have no mercy on them if they do not do their best; however, at the same time, they are dealing with two countries with full sovereignty and cannot force them to do anything. The nature of negotiations is an art of reaching the best results with the least losses without giving up historic and acquired rights, he said.
Regarding the decision to open Egypt’s doors to rice importation, Moghazy welcomed the decision and said it is a blow to monopolisers of goods who store them in manipulative attempts to raise their prices. He added that buying rice from abroad is much better than buying water, as nothing in life is more important than water. A feddan of rice crops consumes from 3,000 to 5,000 cubic metres per year.
There are other crops such as corn, beets, vegetables, and fruits which do consume less water.
Regarding protecting shores from the phenomenon of global warming, Moghazy said that there are risks, but there is also an exaggeration of the volume of these risks. The state, represented by the Ministries of Irrigation and Environment, in cooperation with the relevant executive authorities, is taking many measures to protect the beaches and shores of Alexandria, Kafr El-Sheikh, Damietta, and other governorates.