September 24, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – An Egyptian official has emphatically denied the veracity of allegations that his country had reached an agreement with neighbouring Sudan to use its territories as a launchpad for potential attacks on Ethiopian damming facilities because their dispute over Nile water-sharing.
- Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when completed, will reduce the capacity of the Aswan High Dam, helping to save about six billion cubic metres of water. Image courtesy of Hajor.
Sudan Tribune reported the allegations last month citing a 2010 internal e-mail leaked by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, which suggested that Sudan president Omer Al-Bashir had agreed to build an Egyptian airbase in his country’s western region of Darfur to be used for assaults on The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile water-sharing.
But Egypt’s state minister for military production, Rida Hafiz, on Monday strongly denied the allegations saying they are “totally bare of truth” According to Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA, Hafiz added that the report is “designed to disturb Egyptian-Ethiopian relations.”
Egypt - and Sudan to a lesser extent - are involved in a drawn-out conflict with the Nile Basin’s upstream countries over Nile Water rights as the latter, mainly Ethiopia, continue to contest and attempt to alter the shares dictated by colonial-era treaties giving Egypt the lion share in Africa’s longest river.
The North African country is concerned that Ethiopia’s GERD, a massive hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, about 40 kilometers from the borders with Sudan, will affect its vital flow of fresh water when completed with a capacity to create a reservoir of 65 billion cubic metres.
President Omer Al-Bashir reportedly told his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Morsi this month that Sudan shares “identical position” with Egypt on the Nile water issue.