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El-Sisi confirms that Egyptian water rights are ‘national security issue’

BY Marwa Mahmoud

CAIRO: Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the Egyptian President described Nile Water as a “national security issue” and called for the signing of an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

His remarks were made during a meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Federal Palace in Cairo on Sunday.

“The meeting touched on the latest regional developments of mutual interest, especially with regard to the issue of the Renaissance Dam.

 It was agreed to intensify coordination between the two countries during the coming period on this sensitive and vital issue,” a spokesperson for the president said.

“The utmost importance of the water issue for the Egyptian people, as it is a matter of national security, will mean Egypt adheres to water rights by reaching a legal agreement that guarantees clear rules for the process of filling and operating the dam, and achieving the common interests of all parties,” he added.

It is not the first time that El-Sisi has described the water issue as a national security issue. During a recent phone call with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson he also repeated the phrase.

His spokesman said the president also expressed Egypt’s keenness to strengthen relations and consolidate strategic cooperation with Kenya in various fields.

El-Sisi said that Egypt wants to provide Kenya development experience in major national projects, especially infrastructure, housing, utilities and roads, through specialized companies that have expertise in the industries.

President Kenyatta said Kenya was keen to develop bilateral cooperation with Egypt and seek the help of Egyptian companies, especially in light of the Kenya National Development Plan. He added that health care, low-cost housing, industrialization and food security are all important priorities for the country.