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CAIRO – Recently National Forces, Figures and Parties of Egypt announced the opening belonging Popular Front for Conservation the Nile River, a campaign to get people and government to participate in defending the country’s right to water and preventing the risks associated with the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is planned to be built second filling in the coming rainy season in July-August.
In its opening statement on June 1, the Popular Front said the GERD crisis requires a general national mobilization to prevent the risks associated with the dam, adding: “People are a real party and need to be aware of everything that happens. Instead of being a spectator of a fateful question, [people must] rather, be an active partner in supporting all efforts to protect national rights. “
The Popular Front called for pressure on Ethiopia to sign a binding agreement to fill and operate the dam, as well as an agreement not to develop any future projects without the approval of downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan. The Popular Front also stressed the criminalization of the sale or delivery of water outside the Nile countries, especially to Israel.
The formation of the Popular Front for the Preservation of the Nile River takes place against the background of negotiations on GNIRB stalled in light of Ethiopia’s insistence on the continuation of the second filling without an agreement with the two downstream countries, and rejects all technical proposals on the rules for filling and operating the dam that Cairo presented during previous rounds of negotiations or that were proposed by international mediators. Meanwhile, Egypt has stepped up diplomatic efforts to persuade Ethiopia to sign a binding agreement promising not to harm Cairo. proportion of the Nile river…
Medhat al-Zahid, head of the Socialist People’s Alliance party that joined the campaign, told Al-Monitor about the campaign’s legal path, reaching out to Egyptian communities abroad to persuade them to file lawsuits against companies that take part during the construction of GERD. The Popular Front, Zahid continued, will also urge Egyptians abroad to demand foreign parliaments to pressure their governments to condemn the Ethiopian government’s actions and its extreme intransigence against Egyptian interests in the Nile waters or to stop aid to the Ethiopian government altogether.
Zahid said the Popular Front will work to guide public opinion in Ethiopia and Africa and make it clear that Egypt is a country that maintains peace and does not oppose the progress of Ethiopia and its people, but on the condition that Egypt’s interests and historical rights to the Nile are water taken into account.
The Popular Front for the Preservation of the Nile River includes left-wing and nasserist-oriented parties and figures, namely the Socialist Party of Egypt, the Socialist People’s Alliance Party, the Communist Party of Egypt, the Party of Bread and Freedom, the Party of Dignity, and the Conservative Party. Party, Arab Democratic Nasserist Party, in addition to former presidential candidate Hamdin Sabahi, MP Diaa ad-Din Dawood, renowned filmmaker Khaled Youssef and former HR minister Kamal Abu Eit.
The campaign also includes a group of writers and journalists who oppose the Egyptian state, which sparked controversy as the pro-regime media saw the creation of the Popular Front as contrary to the official path of the government.
In this context, Nashat ad-Daihi, host of TeN TV, criticized the Popular Front, stating that the attempts at pressure exerted by him are futile and public pressure on the GERD problem is no longer viable. Daihi said on his show that Egypt needs popular solidarity, not a search for false heroism and intellectual division.
For his part, Zahid said that the role of the Popular Front complements the role of the state, as civil society and parties – in addition to being part of the state – can play certain roles that the state cannot play, highlighting the civil society discourse appealing to Ethiopian parties and parties. the public may have greater influence in some areas.
The Popular Front supports the state in all directions that protect the interests of Egypt in the waters of the Nile, but it also “easily forces decision-makers to make decisions that protect our interests,” he said.
Zahid acknowledged that the formation of the Popular Front was long overdue, but civil parties have resolved the situation and sent letters in all languages to left-wing parties in Ethiopia and around the world, warning against Ethiopia’s policies in the region.
Egypt signed Declaration of Principles with Ethiopia and Sudan in March 2015. The agreement represents Egypt’s formal recognition of the construction of GERD, provided that the three countries adhere to the principles of cooperation based on mutual understanding, realizing the water needs of each side and not harming anyone.
However, the three countries faced controversy, the most recent of which was that Ethiopia insisted on second dam filling… Meanwhile the last round conversation in April, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in the Congo capital, Kinshasa, failed to reach agreement on a mechanism for filling and operating the dam.
Former MP and Popular Front member Haitam al-Hariri told Al-Monitor that the campaign is aimed at supporting, but at the same time putting pressure on, decision-makers in Egypt because the situation is dire. He said that Egypt wasted 10 years in futile negotiations with Ethiopia and signed an agreement that does not protect his rights. He believes that the serious steps taken by Egypt recently are too late.
He noted that recent efforts by the Egyptian government, such as addressing the Security Council and encircling Ethiopia from all sides, should have continued in recent years. However, the current situation requires the Popular Front to approach GERD using a different approach, as it is a sensitive issue, he said.
Hariri also stressed that the Popular Front is not seeking political success.
For his part, Tarek Fahmi, professor of political science at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor that the presence of the Popular Front for the Preservation of the Nile River is not politically or socially important because the current stage requires direct official action, not popular initiative or diplomacy.
Fahmi said that the Popular Front will not be able to achieve anything because the time for the formation of the fronts has passed. He said that this front would thus not lead to any positive results, and its nomination is currently undermining the position of the Egyptian state.
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