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Egyptian presidential candidate speaks of ‘red lines’ in GERD crisis

Egyptian presidential candidate Hazem Omar spoke about what he called “red lines” in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute, which he warned would call for “hard force” if Ethiopia crossed them.

During an interview with MBC Masr TV channel, Omar said that his “program regarding water security” includes negotiating as a path but will also fall on “hard force” if forced into it.

He continued, “We must set our red lines so that everyone knows them, because when our partners know our red lines, there is no attempt to cross them, because once crossed there can be no negotiations or understandings, and my duty as President is to protect the Egyptian people’s right to life.”

“We must have constants in the negotiating process, including agreeing on the rules for filling, operating the dam, exchanging data, and concluding a binding legal agreement.”

Omar explained, “We asked the Ethiopians to reduce the filling rate if the Blue Nile’s revenue reached 43 billion cubic meters annually, and to slow down the filling rate if the Blue Nile’s revenue reached 40 billion cubic meters annually, and to stop filling completely if the Blue Nile’s revenue reached 37 billion cubic meters.”

He noted that the average revenue of Blue Nile is 48.5 billion cubic meters annually.

“If the Blue Nile’s revenue falls below 37 billion cubic meters after five-seven years of extended drought and Ethiopia continues to fill, this is one of the cases of calling for hard force. The other matter is that if Ethiopia begins building water-consuming irrigation dams with a storage volume that affects the share of Egypt, this is also a red line.”

Omar assured that he would not wait for Ethiopia to cross these “red lines,” referring to the tools by which Egypt imposes pressure while utilizing soft power so long as Ethiopia does not cross the line.

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