Egypt’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Irrigation discuss Nile water file, climate change

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, and Egyptians Abroad Affairs Badr Abdel-Aty met with Hani Sweilem, Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, on Sunday, July 7th, to discuss the two ministries’ cooperation regarding water and climate change and Egypt’s relations with the Nile Basin countries.


Ambassador Ahmed Abu Zeid, the official spokesman and director of the Public Diplomacy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, stated that the meeting focused on enhancing cooperation between the two ministries, particularly concerning water, climate change, relations with Nile River Basin countries, and addressing related challenges.


The spokesman noted that Dr. Badr Abdel Aty expressed appreciation for the existing level of cooperation and coordination between their ministries, especially given the current intersection of water issues with international relations, peace, security, energy, food, and development. This underscores the need for comprehensive policies and ongoing inter-agency coordination to safeguard national interests.


Both ministers emphasized the importance of exchanging assessments and insights regarding water issues, particularly those concerning the Nile.


The two Ministries are concerned with the file of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In April 2024, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Sweilem stated that Ethiopia’s unilateral actions regarding the construction and filling of the dam constitute an existential threat to more than 150 million Egyptians.


In March 2024, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry criticized Ethiopia’s intransigence and disregard for the principle of good neighborliness, which has led Egypt to suspend negotiations aimed at reaching a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD.


Sweilem also previously stated that Ethiopia will bear the costs of any potential harm caused to Egypt by the dam, as per the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.


Despite more than a decade of negotiations, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have yet to resolve their differences regarding the dam.


Last year’s negotiation rounds also failed, with Egypt attributing the breakdown to Ethiopia’s persistent rejection of proposed middle-ground technical or legal solutions to safeguard the interests of all three countries.


In December, the Ministry of Water Resources underlined Egypt’s close monitoring of the dam’s filling and operation, while reserving the right to protect its water and national security in accordance with international charters and agreements.


As Egypt heavily relies on the Nile for its water needs, it perceives the dam as a threat to its already limited water supply.


Egypt and Sudan had strived to secure a legally binding agreement with Ethiopia regarding the GERD, aiming to safeguard their water rights.


However, Ethiopia has proceeded with dam filling and operation without their consent.






Egypt Today