A group of Egyptian lawyers and political activists are preparing a lawsuit to challenge President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s preliminary agreement on Ethiopia’s Nile dam project.
The agreement which asserted Ethiopia’s right to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has caused grave concern in Egypt over the prospect of the country’s water and electricity supply.
The deal was inked by Sisi, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in March 2015.
The group of lawyers and activists who seek to overturn Sisi’s decision argue that the agreement runs counter to the interests of Egypt.
The activists accuse the Ethiopian negotiators of taking advantage of the agreement and collecting international funding for the project.
The 2015 deal is aimed at setting principles which ensure that the construction of the dam would not harm the other countries and will compensate them in case of any damage. Many Egyptians – and Sudanese are concerned that their towns and villages will be swept away if the dam collapses.
The Nile supplies the bulk of Egypt’s drinking water, irrigates the Nile Delta and generates nearly half of the country’s electricity through the operation of the Aswan High Dam.
During the era of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, Ethiopia made several attempts to build the dam, but Mubarak asserted that Egyptian access to its share of the Nile’s waters was out of question.
Following the overthrow of Mubarak, Ethiopia began building the GERD in April 2011 at a cost of $4.7bn and the project is expected be completed in July.