Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. AP
“This should come in a way that establishes cooperation and consolidates joint interests among the peoples of the region,” Abbas said in a speech on Wednesday at the Fourth Arab Water Conference in Cairo.
The conference is organised by Palestine in the League of Arab States’ headquarters 30 November – 1 December under the slogan “Arab Water Security for Life”.
Palestine stands with Egypt and Sudan in their stance on GERD; it supports Egypt and Sudan's demands for guarantees that their water, agricultural, and energy security will not be harmed, Abbas stressed.
“The flowing of the Nile water along its course from source to mouth is [part of] the Egyptian, Sudanese and Arab national security,” Abbas said in his speech.
Egypt and Sudan have rejected unilateral Ethiopian actions in the filling and operating of the GERD. These unilateral actions include Addis Ababa's embarking in 2022 on both the third phase of filling the dam's 74-billion-cubic-metre reservoir and on operating the dam turbines without the consent of both countries.
The two downstream countries have repeatedly called on Addis Ababa to sign a binding agreement on the filling and operating of the dam, which would secure their water rights and protect their peoples’ interests.
Egypt and Sudan's demands have, however, fallen on deaf ears.
Egypt has stressed, on both regional and international occasions, its unwavering stance on the need for a legally-binding agreement on filling and operating the dam.
Enhancing water cooperation
The two-day Arab water conference is held with the participation of Arab water resources and irrigation ministers, delegations from Arab countries and regional organisations, and concerned stakeholders.
The conference is also attended by experts and by decision-makers from the public and private sectors.
According to its website, the conference is crucial to enhance and strengthen transboundary water cooperation.
The conference seeks to create a space for discussing the multiple aspects of Arab water security to come up with recommendations and solutions to the problem.
A paramount goal of the conference, according to its website, is to raise awareness about water scarcity and its challenges.
Furthermore, the conference aims to promote integration and interconnection policies not just in water management but also in agriculture, energy, and other sectors.
In a speech at the inaugural session of the conference today, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul-Gheit called for Arab solidarity to protect the water sovereign rights and to guarantee food security in the Arab countries.