Egypt expert: Al-Sisi cancelled the 1902 Agreement and forfeited Egypt’s right to the Nile waters

Nader Nour Eddin, Professor of Water Resources at Cairo University’s Faculty of Agriculture, has said that the Agreement of Principles signed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2015 cancelled the 1902 Agreement that safeguarded Egypt’s rights to the Nile waters.

On his account on Facebook, the water and irrigation expert added that it is all up to Ethiopia now, that the negotiations will take place only according to its wishes and interests, and that Addis Ababa is aiming at full monopolisation of the river’s waters and lakes as it incorrectly claims that it does not get its share of the Blue Nile’s water. He explained that Ethiopia completely controls the water of Lake Tana from which the Blue Nile originates and whose capacity is more than 40 billion m3, besides constructing the Tekeze Dam on Atbarah River (one of the Nile’s tributaries) in 2009 with a lake with a storage capacity of 10 billion m3.

The expert explained that the Ethiopian issue is not about water, but rather a fundamentally political one because its territory contains six large rivers other than the three rivers of the Nile, which are Atbarah, Sobat, and the Blue Nile. The six rivers together supply an amount of about 52 billion m3 of water exclusively for Ethiopia according to the United Nations estimations. Add to that its water benefits from Lake Tana and the Tekeze Dam and Ethiopia will have a net total of about 102 billion m3 at its disposal. Consequently, it does not need the Blue Nile for even a single drop of water but for electricity generation. Nour Eddin stated that it was in Egypt’s power to prevent building dams on the Blue Nile according to the 1902 Agreement which was cancelled by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he signed the Agreement of Principles. Per the second article of the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1902, the Ethiopian Emperor, Menelik II, pledged to never construct or give permission for the construction of any kind of structures on the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, or Sobat River that might obstruct water flow to the Nile except only by the agreement of the British government under whose mandate Egypt was at the time, as well as the Egyptian government in Sudan.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed alone the Agreement of Principles, the only legal basis for the construction of the Renaissance Dam. The agreement consists of 10 articles under which al-Sisi gave Addis Ababa the right to build the dam without giving any real guarantees that Egypt’s rights to the water coming from Ethiopia will not suffer.

Some sovereign sources related to Egypt Watch say that some of the General Intelligence’s officers submitted a full report to Abbas Kamel, Head of the Service, stating the necessity of presenting the Agreement of Principles signed by al-Sisi to the House of Representative and recommending also rejecting that agreement unanimously, but the report remained confined to the Head of the Service’s drawers.

The sources indicated that Kamel did not dare show the president the report for fear of his wrath if he was told that he made another mistake like what happened with giving up the Tiran and Sanafir islands. Back then, a number of the service’s officers and agents submitted a petition to reject the agreement and the petition was met by the prosecution of these officers and agents by al-Sisi, as well as their removal from the service. The number of those who were removed at the time amounted to 17 of the service’s agents including Hazem el-Sayed Hassan Hussein, Adel Abdo Shalaby, Abdel Aziz Wagdy, Ihab Asaad, Khaled el-Sayed Ahmed, Mohamed Mahmoud Ali, Ahmed Mahmoud Abdel Fattah, Ashraf Shaker Mohamed, Ahmed Ismael Bakry, Akram Mohamed Salah, Ahmed Hussein Ahmed, Majed Mustafa Ahmed, Adel Lotfy, Inas Mustafa, Hani Mohamed Rajaey, Ahmed Abdel Hameed Abdel Hameed, and Tamer Hamed Fahmi.

Al-Sisi afterwards took a strong hold over the General Intelligence Service by appointing his Chief of Staff and confidante, General Abbas Kamel, as Head of the Service and enrolling his sons and daughter. Mahmoud works as the Director of Kamel’s substantive office, Hassan is the Director of Communication, whereas the sources did not specify the role of the daughter, Ayah.