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GERD: Cairo jumps on Kenyatta stopover to discuss Ethiopian dam

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Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti took advantage of President Kenyatta’s refuelling stops on the way to Paris to talk about the GERD dispute with Ethiopia.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has described Nile water as a “national security issue” and urged the signing of an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

His comments came during a meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday at the Federal Palace in Cairo. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the director of Egyptian General Intelligence Abbas Kamel were also present during the talks.

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

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