Wed. Aug 12th, 2020

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Egypt defense council discusses Libyan crisis, Ethiopia’s Nile dam

3 min read

Egypt’s National Defense Council (NDC), headed by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, discussed on Sunday the latest developments of the Libyan crisis and the Ethiopian grand hydropower dam built on the Nile River, said the Egyptian presidency.

The NDC comprises the parliament speaker, the prime minister, the defense minister, the army chief of staff, the intelligence chief, the ministers of foreign affairs, interior and finance and other senior officials.

The national defense body reiterated Egypt’s commitment to end illegal foreign interventions that exacerbate the security situation in Libya and pose threats to neighboring states as well as international peace and security, Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

“Libya’s security is an integral part of the Egyptian and Arab national security,” the NDC said, highlighting its commitment to a political settlement for the Libyan conflict, according to Rady.

Sisi has recently vowed that his country would not stand idle in the face of any direct threats to the security of Egypt and Libya.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian parliament is expected to have a vote this week on approving Egyptian military intervention in Libya to help defend the western neighbor against Turkish intervention.

Libya has been engaged in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments with warring forces: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk allied with Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates support Haftar’s LNA, while the GNA is mainly backed by Turkey and Qatar.

The NDC also discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), affirming that Egypt will continue working on reaching a comprehensive tripartite agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the outstanding issues regarding the dam, including filling and operating the reservoir.

Over the past few years, tripartite meetings over the rules of filling and operating Ethiopia’s grand dam have been fruitless, including those hosted by Washington, amid Egyptian concerns that the GERD would affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water.

Earlier this month, the 11-day talks between the water ministers of the three countries, sponsored by the African Union, also failed to reach a tripartite agreement on running the controversial dam.

Ethiopia has recently said it would soon start filling the reservoir, while Egypt has repeatedly warned against any unilateral action without a prior tripartite agreement.

Earlier in the day, Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati said Egypt will not stand idle in the face of the challenges posed by the GERD.

“We will never stand still or just as spectators,” he warned.

The 4-billion-U.S.-dollar GERD is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.

Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years. Egypt seeks to prolong the period of the filling process to avoid the possible impacts of water shortage which has been a main point of their talks. (Xinhua/NAN)