Cry Me A River (Nile): Egyptians Embrace Their Inner-African
On June 3, Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi convened Egyptian dignitaries—opposition party leaders, clerics, civil society—to evaluate his report and to discuss Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam and what Egypt’s response should be. The meeting was televised (live, according to a recording by Egypt Radar); apparently, some of those attending the meeting did not appear to be aware that it was being broadcast live. This resulted in a candid discussion and the video went viral and some of the more sensational aspects of it were excerpted (without context, of course) by the media—including those who have a vested interested in showing all Arabs and Muslims as raging fanatics (we are talking to you memriTV.com) The following is a translation (excerpts, of course) of the meeting. Since the video is 2 ½ hours long, we cannot provide a verbatim translation of the entire meeting. We hope our readers will find it informative. In some instances, we have not been able to identify the speakers, their titles, or organizational affiliations: we welcome your input/correction. If you want to see the entire video, you can refer to the following line (YouTube clip (2 ½ hours, in Arabic).
President Mohammed Mursi (opening statement): We stand together facing the challenge…In the past weeks, we have seen the challenge in Sinai…and how we stood together, faced the challenge and came out victorious…and that was a good example of how Egyptians and Egyptian institutions, standing together, can overcome challenges…These days, the River Nile, its water…we have to be working with one hand to deter any threat of any kind which faces Egypt…As is well known, if Egypt is the gift of the Nile, then the Nile is a gift to Egypt from God, may He be glorified and exalted…and we must do everything we can to safeguard this bounty from God…And when it comes to even a drop of this water, we should not defer or postpone decisions. And that’s the purpose of this meeting.
It is the responsibility of all the institutions of the state—the president, the government, and all present who have responsibility for the security of the nation– to safeguard its security. Water security is part of overall security. All political forces and people must have a political opinion and a role in this… why aren’t we meeting on a Thursday or a Saturday [but meeting now] is because this is a national call, our first opportunity to meet and form your opinion and express yourself so we can search for a political decision… [he goes on describes his previous itinerary of meetings he has had with various committees and ministers, and the meeting of Egypt’s Prime Minister with Ethiopia’s Minister, his own meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister at the AU…].. You all know the relationship of Egypt with African nations in years past.. Our isolation from the rest of Africa, and specifically Ethiopia, is really worrisome. The Africans have [crafted] solutions among one another; they have an understanding among one another…And we are stepping into this with all our capacity…and it is highly competitive between South Africa and Egypt with respect to the Horn of Africa, and I want to change this [threat] into an opportunity, and not idle waste of time We co-operate with the President of South Africa, our relationship is satisfactory…we are part of Africa… Egypt, as you know, is the entry point for all companies who want to do business in Africa…[here he gives his itinerary to emphasize his seriousness about Africa].. in the spirit of co-existence…the Nile travels a distance of 2,000 kilos [kilometers], and within Egypt 1,000 kilos and from the Blue Nile we get about 86% [presumably of the total water Egypt gets]… the other 14% comes from Uganda and others..[this is followed by the different sources of electricity for Egypt, and how Ethiopia’s dam will impact it to the tune of 28%…. somebody jumps in and corrects the president’s calculations, the president insists his calculations are right… (@ the 12:50 mark)]… I thank you, I salute you, thank you so much.
Dr. Saad Katatni, (Freedom and Justice Party): … for us in Egypt the issues of life and death… we don’t feel the blessing of water like other countries that do not have water and don’t have resources. Water, for us, in a country whose resources are limited, it is really an issue of life or death. ..considering the increase in population, and under the shadow of our hopes to expand the agricultural land, our current needs of water, we also want to increase it. When there is a project like this one, and it has an effect particularly on water, the issue needs a position from all–political leadership, from all concerned in this country. This use doesn’t allow for political overbidding… Mr. President, we need totake all actions expected, that might happen. I heard from Dr. Essam Al-Hadad, Vice President, he said, we have a way to solve this issue through diplomacy. It is good to use soft diplomacy, and using international law, our right to water, is not for someone to abuse it. …this affects human beings, plants and animals…. I say all options, I say all options with no exception, and what I am saying is clear…all options are available, and we will support all the options, but in gradual necessary steps. If diplomacy doesn’t work, we will go for international law and ruling, if that doesn’t work, we will resort to all options that anyone can imagine, to protect out water security, because to us this is an issue of life and death.
Younes Makhioun, (Al Nur Party): …[the dam project] hurts Egypt’s interest before considering other developmental issue for Ethiopia. Basically, it is a strategic conflict. We at Al Nur party think.. consider Egypt’s agreement to building the dam a risky strategic mistake. Because it will offer Ethiopia and those who are behind it, Israel and America, a deadly leverage on Egypt… I believe Ethiopia chose this timing because it felt there is confusion in the Egyptian scene, a political friction. We have to unite the people to rally behind the national [cause]…. [we have to] reach to an agreement with Sudan, on presidential level, to realize a common vision for the two countries. It is clear Sudan has some benefits and interests from this dam. Therefore, its vision is not clear and its position is weak. Negotiations… Egypt and Sudan with Ethiopia, to immediately stop the construction of the dam and wait for the completion of the studies…and presenting to Ethiopia, in case… to find an alternative…they have eleven alternative rivers, not only the Blue Nile…
Also, moves by Egypt and Sudan on the regional and international levels, to stop any plans to fund this dam… a move to present complaints against Ethiopia at the Arab League , UN organizations and the African Union and international tribunal. The Gulf states have huge investments, Al Amoudi [Saudi-Ethiopian national] company and others, billions of dollars [worth] which will strengthen Ethiopia’s economic and financial standing… Enhancing the relations [Egypt’s] with African countries, particularly Eritrea, Somalis and Djibouti, and showing them the plans of the Ethiopian dams, and its aims…using pressure cards…for example, there are the Oromo people, 35% of the Ethiopian population, and they have a front called Oromo Liberation Front…the Ethiopian internal front is very weak, wobbly. Also the Ogaden Liberation Front, it is possible to support them. This is considered a pressure card on the Ethiopian government. If all these fail, there is no choice; we can use the last of cards, by using the intelligence, to destroy any dam that is erected if there is this certain risk to Egypt… Experts said this dam is considered a declaration of war on Egypt. The [Egyptian] minister of [water resources and] irrigation, his performance, I believe is very weak, and his statements serve the benefit of Ethiopians, specially his statements that came before the [issuing of the report] of the tripartite committee. He said that this dam doesn’t represent any risk to Egypt…
Unknown: We have to use the strategy that Meles [previous Ethiopian Prime Minister] had used to rally the nation…if there is a national rally.. This issue deserves [attention] to protect our interest even with the armed forces…there would be a national unity and a support for the presidency and all,.. and using force… there are issues that experts know about…frigates would go and visit Bab El Mendeb, Aden… The minister of defense would go and inspect the borders in Sudan near Ethiopia… there are message of this sort.. a preparation follows and here the hint of pressure, military pressure… there is public pressure that contributes to…. the consolations, [a colleague here] says the only strategy accepted in this situation is to prepare for all eventualities starting with the worst eventuality. The worst possibility is that the statements of the Ethiopian leaders would be strategic deceit and behind it there are hidden [intents] that would end up with the dams… being used, not declared, the dam would eventually be used to decrease Egypt’s share.. this cannot be ruled out… I also suggest that we form a public committee, of the people present [at the meeting] and those who are not present…to make public pressure, go and visit and report to the president…directly … we hint at military movement that would [make them feel] that the issue is serious not just wielding that would not be used, it might be used, I wish we don’t get there…but this would result in hastening negotiations, intervention by international entities to calm [the situation] and pressure for, and solution to accept what is possible to accept through negotiations…
Dr. Hassen: …allow me to regress back to history… Ethiopians are our brethren; they are African people, and we have a strong cultural and religious relations. But Ethiopia of late is under the illusion of [being] the regional police. I am not saying this in vacuum, but Ethiopia allowed itself to enter Somalia, which is a member of the Arab League, and to occupy it, or occupy part of it. Particularly, the disputed area in South Somalia for a long time. We also know that it is in a conflict over influence with Eritrea and Djibouti and what is called Somaliland is under the influence of Ethiopia… if the Nile is the stream of life for Egypt, …Djibouti is the stream of life for Ethiopia, logistically, as they say nowadays.
This position [Ethiopia’s] didn’t consider that its neighbors are eternal than external [entities], this time, it is testing itself with Egypt. I don’t say this to raise conflicts: May God curse those who stir it; I don’t even blame the Ethiopians for their economical position against their neighbors with whom they will live forever. We blame ourselves, that Egypt, once upon a time, during the Nasserite era, had a clear vision to strengthen relations with Africa, and it involved Egyptian blood: Kemaleddin Salah, Fethi Redwan were martyred in Somalia. Getting [Egypt] out of the region or closing to the region started from Anwar Sadat [era] but it festered during the demised era [of Mubarek]. People gave their backs to Africa. I remember the foreign minister of Ethiopia came to Egypt and mocked the Egyptian people. He said, the Nile doesn’t have wings to fly to Israel. But Egyptians and everyone else knows that the Nile could have wings [that run] under the ground–pipes could pass through the Red sea… and there are countries that import water through pipes. Unfortunately, Ethiopia under Haile Sellassie had a reasonable relation with Egypt and he opened with Abdel Nasser…Egypt should use in this matter all its soft power….Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Arab League and Muslim League, we have to embarrass those people because they have strong relations with Addis Ababa… Al Azhar, and I am confident the Egyptian national church would not hesitate and strive, with all its efforts, in this direction. And the UN, this is a work outside the parameters of law, it is a crime in assaulting the Nile, against the laws. We have to expose this… and the mutual interests etc….. Whoever violates international laws, his promises should not be trusted, at all. There should be clear agreements… and any nation should protect its interest… we were 15 million during the 1920, now we are close to 90 million and on the steps of 100 million…I hear the Ethiopians have plans for three other dams…we should not accept promises.
Abba Daniel [Coptic Church]: … I start with a small question …based on my little knowledge, the Aswan Dam is [a structure built of] dirt covered with rocks, while, as your Excellency said, the Ethiopian dam is made of concrete [the president explains the difference]. There is an effect that no one talked about: the psychological effect on Egyptians. Historically, it is known that the River Nile gives stability, and security, and the people enjoy peace because the water is guaranteed. I think the water problem is the fundamental problem and this will cause psychological instability to the people, because if the water [flow] is affected, the people will be agitated: would the water come? Would we drink, would we [be able to irrigate] our farms? This is a psychological point. I think one of the important solutions is dialogue with international guarantees– containing the crisis through international organizations that [should] participate with us in the dialogue to convince all parties. It is important for the common interest of all the states…
Dr. Amr khalid: … Truly I want to say that we need a comprehensive strategy, and what I mean by a comprehensive strategy is that we will not be able to deal with this issue but in five or six directions that work in tandem. First, I add my voice to that of Abba Daniel, it is the direction of dialogue and diplomacy; it is essential and it should be pursued forcefully; we [should] work in it through combined committees. The second point is, we need a lobby, an international lobby: an international Egyptian lobby. This lobby, our children abroad… I think Dr. Ayman Ali is present, our children aboard are able to participate in this lobby. Without this lobby… and we bring an international PR company and it would basically be Egyptian; and there are Egyptian companies with international dimensions. We have a historic opportunity, in the middle of what [is] happening in Egypt, and we unite the Egyptian people. This case is fit to make the Egyptian people rally behind [it], and we make it a case that is felt by all citizens… and, it is easy to sell it, and market it to the simple Egyptian: the Nile water. I suggest the second direction, pressure group, with strong powers, we bring …Egyptian personalities, who have international influence, who live abroad, there comes Dr. Majdi Yaqoub, Zweli, Amr Khalid, Dr. so and so Dr. so and so, we work internationally in a way, Dr. Amr Hazawi, comes and works–in unity, as a bee colony.
The third point that I want to mention, among the comprehensive strategy, Mr. President, [is against] limiting the relations, with Ethiopia and Africa, only on the Nile water. [That] hurts Egypt. We, in the last thirty years, we limited the relations [only to] give us our water and we do not want to see you because we see ourselves superior to you. Lets’ be frank and talk transparently. Yes, the Egyptians were looking [at them] like that; at Ethiopia and Africa….limiting the issue [to Nile water] would hurt [us]. The issue will not be solved in isolation of developmental aspects. The civil societies, the [ministry of] foreign affairs truly deserves an appreciation, it took the civil society and we went to Ethiopia and Uganda– I was part of that team, you wouldn’t believe their friendliness. When the civil society comes and tells them, I am not here to talk about water, how can we help you? Mr. President, we went and talked with Africans, in several countries, and when we returned, and we agreed, on agreements [with the African countries], but nothing happened…and the government is responsible. We agreed to have youth exchange [programs], and we invited five countries to bring 100 youth each for a camp in Egypt. We said we will [cover the cost and] be responsible for that matter, [but] nothing happened to this date. We said we will build schools and Egyptian investors were ready, and nothing happened. Therefore, the third point: developmental companies.
The fourth solution that I want to say [is] the role of business people and investors in Ethiopia. The hindrances are still great, Mr. President, on the exchange of trade. The UAE, Egyptian ceramics is exported to Africa through the UAE, who would like that? That is because the process is complicated in Egypt. So, for me [as an Egyptian] to export [something] I have to go to the UAE so that it can export [my products] on my behalf and I am an Egyptian investor? We need to expand in Africa. This is the fourth line.
The fifth direction is the role of the church. I visited the church in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian church loves Egyptians. Very much. It feels great respect and peace; they received us with a very superb reception. The Egyptian and Ethiopian churches, between them, is love and respect and admiration… The role of the Egyptian church.
The fifth [sic] and last direction [is] the Egyptian media which deals with the issue in a shallow manner, [with] racism and superiority. [The Ethiopians] read newspapers and they see what we say about them, and how we talk about them. Why can’t there be a media front–all the media that agrees with the presidency or has a difference with the presidency? This is a case of Egypt’s national security. Why can’t the media personalities meet? Imagine, Your Excellency, if we make these six lines work, how many Egyptians would work with the institution of the presidency so that we can save Egypt? How many Egyptians inside and outside [Egypt]? This is a case we can change to a national project… but it requires a specialized committee, Your Excellency, the president, a committee that works 365 days, 24 hours, always thinking on how to gather national forces and the Egyptians abroad and international powers: its preoccupation, this issue, PR. I think, we will all be soldiers for this matter and I think this comprehensive strategy would be a solution. Thank you.
Dr. Amr Hamzawi (Freedom Egypt Party): I think what was presented to us here should be presented to the Egyptian public, it is their right to know the truth of what is happening..the report doesn’t include information that would compromise Egypt’s national security [if released]….two, the people should know how the Egyptian government dealt with the issue during the last ten-months with the Ethiopian dam case. Third, the flow of statements from different places, different establishments of the government of the Egyptian state…my conviction is these statements don’t serve — we don’t need to rush [and state] that this dam hurts or this dam doesn’t hurt. The case should be considered a sovereign case, a presidential case… we also need to form a committee to manage the crisis, a group of experts, diplomats…..politicians and technical experts… Your Excellency, we have interests with states that are funding [the dam] through their companies and other means. We have interests with Italy, we have interests with China, we have Arab countries that are investing there…the worst thing is we might not know what the Ethiopian side is planning… Worst, there might be plans in [their] drawers that we have not seen yet. Worst is: while we negotiate and the report of the tripartite group is being prepared construction starts…. since the last part of the presentation says the study is not complete,… therefore the construction should stop…I request that we do not see this in a context of rivalry, or a zero sum game… [we should] take it away from the zero sum game into a situation where we can benefit from it in Egypt, economically, socially, and water security and we benefit the African side represented by Ethiopia… the Egyptian arrogance during the last three-decades…damaged the relations.. dealing [with Africans] with racism, we [should] transform it to [a situation] of benefit to all parties.
Abba Daniel (Egypt’s Coptic Church): … His holiness the patriarch of Ethiopia will come to Egypt within ten-days, and I think among the important issues that his holiness the pope is going to talk about with him. But I want to put two warnings: the state in Ethiopia is civil [secular] and it doesn’t have relations with the church [affairs], weak influence. The second thing, the Ethiopian society as we know, is agitated and has so many problems. Therefore, reaching an understanding is not easy in such matters…
Dr. Ayman Nur (Ghad Al-Thewra Party): …dealing with Eritrea, dealing with Djibouti, and dealing with Somalia is a card of great importance to pressure Ethiopia. Truly, we haven’t benefited from the change that happened after the passing away of this man [Meles Zenawi] who was very bad towards Egypt. He was inimical and agitated his people with grudge and hate towards Egypt. We haven’t invested on this change in a proper way, but I think the political changes inside Ethiopia makes me say that pressure from the neighboring countries is an important issue with another team that works with countries that have relations with the issue…Israel, America, China and Italy… the Ethiopian community… to delay funding, to delay execution to reach an alternative solution… There are many conflicts, there are many political forces, there are expected changes…and it is possible to deal with it.. we do not want an embassy in Ethiopia, we need a task force in Ethiopia…political, intelligence, to deal in all aspects with the Ethiopian reality, we have to have a role in it. I think this….to interfere in internal issues (I say this, contrary to what people say) there must be an interference in national affairs, and there must be an influence on decisions. And the choices in Ethiopia. The society there is worn to the extreme, we have seen this in our visit, it was a sorry situation. We can achieve a result, a very quick one. If we don’t achieve a result with change, we can with pressure….the third team is military…though a military solution is avoided, I beg you to read translations of Egyptian newspapers which focus on two things… the newspapers are saying there is not military solution and Egypt doesn’t have a military capacity, neither airplanes, nor rockets and the Sudan will not allow.. the Sudanese position truly…stinks.. it is very much less than what is was supposed to be… we are able to leak information, in the nature of intelligence information that Egypt is striving to purchase a certain kind of planes, to fuel airplanes in air and Egypt is striving to [this and that]. This is pressure even if it is not realistic, but it will lead to a result in the diplomatic channel. The direct diplomatic channel with the Ethiopians, I don’t think will bear results…
Dr. Mohammed: …I see that we have nothing in the flanks… Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti, these are the ones who will finish [the job], inside. I mean all of them among themselves. This happens. It is our right. We don’t have to go directly, there are a hundred indirect ways… This is when we lose hope. When there is no hope.. and from inside Ethiopia… Ethiopia is a multitude of tribes, and everything, as Your Excellency knows, this is Africa and in Africa everything can be fixed, all works… and maybe do something on the way. This is a problem that requires us to see it seriously, because the issue is not easy, the issue is not a joking matter…
Dr. Sefwet: … We have neglected Africa…Ethiopia doesn’t have the money and they say that the financier is Israel. They also say: just like the Arab countries sell petrol we [the Ethiopians] will sell water to Egypt and others by the liter. Our economy doesn’t allow us to buy water for drinking in the house and for use in agricultural lands. …we have to work on awareness, people do not feel [our problems] they do not know that Egypt needs [every] drop of water, a cup of water….Our [Egyptian] children in Abyssinia, they have important position, as successful business people… as you know in Abyssinia, they are indispensable.. We have a number of Egyptians leading the Abyssinian economy…
Dr. Mejdi Ahmed Hussein: … I love battles, and I love battles very much. With enemies, of course. America and Israel. But it must be done wisely and patiently… prudence, secrecy, without much announcement. [Somebody interjects something…and he says, “ok, you said it.” ] What I will talk about is not a secret: our battle with America and Israel. [Somebody interrupts him and he says, “this is my opinion. What I am saying is done by every country. And said.”…]
This has been an issue since 1964…there is not going to be a day when a newspaper headline will say “today war was declared”… refusing to talk [candidly] about this is evading responsibility. We have ignored Africa for long…we focused too much on the west…thank God there is now some focus on Asia…but we forget: Africa is the solution. This is not just about water: obviously, we die without water. And why I say America and Israel: we are 80 million. What will happen to us if water is cut? This is a grave threat, and we must deal with it with exemplary patience…I have to emphasize what Amr Khaled said: we must return to Africa.
Sustained people to people campaigns… Official and unofficial… not the tours we do: go and return, which create more damage than benefit…We go to Ethiopia, make one trip and [imagine the Ethiopian reaction]: “you are here because you heard we are hungry… we haven’t seen an Egyptian plane in 30 years and you show up now? You are here to save us?”…This is the reaction. Psychologically. Your Excellency, ask yourself: how many [Egyptian] reporters have been to Ethiopia? Seven or Eight? But every single [Egyptian] reporter has been to America, of course, at America’s expense! And to Europe…Does a single [Egyptian media outlet] have a station in Ethiopia, I am sorry, I mean the entire Africa?… I was deep in Sudan and a kid asked me, “do you know Adel Imam?[Egyptian actor]” And I said, “no, but I know Nur Sherif” [Egyptian actor] and he said, “please say hi to him for me.” So, have we done any movie expos in Arab-speaking.. African countries? Do we have any research and translation services anywhere in Ethiopia, just like there are American research institutions talking to us day and night? Do we have a common market with the Nile countries? What is the role of Al-Azhar…we send teachers to Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone, Your Excellency! And this is a non-Arab country. I want to know how many Al Azhar teachers are there in the Nile Countries common market? Have we worked on a common electric grid? Airlines? Tourism? [Mocking status quo, he says “European tourists are fine, but the blacks, they are of no use!”]
Why don’t we have a citizenship naturalization process for the Sudanese? Don’t insult the Sudanese [directing his comments to the speaker who was offended by Sudan’s position regarding the Ethiopian dam]: the Sudanese is a serious man. The Oromo, the Ogaden…that’s not something that requires loud voice. I do not want open warfare declared against Ethiopia. The Ethiopian people are our friends. The African people love us. 60% of Ethiopians are Muslims. 50-60% are Christians… the church relations may have ended [the relationship between the Egyptian Coptic Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox churches that were altered by Haile Selasse I] but the spiritual connection remains. Before and after Islam and Christianity, they [Ethiopians] are the closest to our hearts. This talk [of war with Ethiopia] is dangerous…ok, if one or two of you say it…but please be cautious. It is wrong and it will not help us meet our goals. These are people who love us very much and love Egypt very much.. Finally, last point, in the past we used to say if you want to kill an issue, create a committee…but we are not in the government now, we have relationship with the government. I plead to you to create a bond with the African people… not just Ethiopia. I have confidence in your excellency that you will do that… I mean the whole of Africa.
Al Ab Refiq Rish (Catholic church): …We need a campaign in Africa.. and internationalizing the case…finally, no to military work… first we don’t know if we know the military capacity of the Ethiopians. Specially [since] they are specialized in guerrilla warfare…but it will certainly result in us to losing good will in [the eyes] of many Africans.
Muhandes Ehab: The report made me anxious… it deals with the case as a done deal that we have to accommodate with it as if it [the dam] is a reality…the study also mentions that the reports are incomplete, but it doesn’t prove they [Ethiopians] do not have studies, but they hid many studies from us and this causes us many problems…we should not be unaware of the main player in this case as also in the Sinai case, because [we know] the player, which is the Zionist entity, in the case of Ethiopia and in the case of Sinai, [its] main goal is to put the security and stability of Egypt in danger…Al Azhar and the church have a role, with consideration that [Ethiopia] is secular…
Rami: I tell you, Your Excellency, Ethiopia will not get any funding to build this dam… Ethiopia getting funds for this dam is impossible. Their priorities in Ethiopia are more important than building this dam…they need hospitals, schools, constructing residential building.. I think this dam is political, its use is political for internal reasons… we should send from this place a message of love and peace to the Ethiopian people and we tell them the Ethiopian and Egyptian people, even if it came after thirty years of injustice, we are with you to build a better future.
Mahmoud (representing youth group): I add my voice to Dr. Amr Khaled, Amr Hamzawi, Dr Aymen Nur for what they said and there is no pint to add to that, but all options are open meaning they are open. … we need to change the value with which we deal with the consumption and wasting of Nile…The Sudanese and Egyptian position should be one and we work [together].. the dam cannot be separated from the Sinai case and its intent is to occupy Egypt with continuous crisis..
President Mursi (concluding remarks): I thank all of you… the meeting has confirmed to me of the necessity of having meetings. When we work as a team, the results will be better than when we work individually. I hope those who were not able to attend will attend future meetings. I have three points, which I will cover quickly. First, we may have differences of opinions, and it is a right, but we are all protective of the sovereignty of Egypt, and the security of Sudan and the people of Sudan, respect for the wishes of Sudan, north and south, and also the people of Ethiopia. We have no enmity to anyone. Or ill wishes to anyone. Categorically. But none of that precludes our desire to protect [our interest in] the Nile. Next, when we move, we should move with the spirit of the Egyptian people who have never been an aggressor against anyone in its history, but now is protecting its water security. Water and Nile are [the definition of] life. Not just irrigation and electricity but life…. the last point: energy sources.. we have three factors…and wide open opportunities for energy: one is material, which I am pursuing forcefully and with a sense of urgency, the second is solar energy.. we have a big project which we will present to you in the near future…a project no smaller than the Suez Canal project…in the western Sahara we have more opportunities for solar energies than anywhere else in the world…it should be no less than 10,000 megawatts…the third is wind energy..We have many locations for that..like by the Red Sea… diversification will prevent us from over-relying on one source…this is not to minimize the significance of hydro-electric power: that is fundamental… one more time I thank you; this is one in a series of meetings we will have on this issue…an hour from now we will have a meeting with a Cabinet of Ministers…
inform. inspire. embolden. reconcile.