The head of the Coptic Church Millet Council’s information council said on Thursday that the church is prepared to accompany President Mohamed Morsy on his tour of Ethiopia to discuss Nile water allocation if asked to do so.
President Mohamed Morsy will visit Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, as the head of Egypt’s delegation at the African Summit on 15 and 16 July.
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia were strained when in May 2010, Ethiopia joined other upstream Nile countries in signing the Entebbe agreement, which outlined new allocations for Nile water. The agreement was rejected by Egypt and Sudan, who both stand by a 1959 accord allocating them the majority of the water.
Despite Egypt's objections, in 2011 Ethiopia began work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt claims may reduce its quota of Nile water.
Prior to his death, the Coptic Church's leader Pope Shenouda III was working closely with members of the Ethiopian church to address this issue.
“The church will not be reluctant to serve the country, especially in resolving the Nile water issue,” Bishop Morqos told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The deceased Pope Shenouda III was “keen on resolving this crisis during his meetings with religious figures in Ethiopia,” he said, adding that the church delegated several bishops to work on the issue.
Edward Ghaleb, head of the Millet Council, said the church welcomes any national initiative to resolve the water crisis.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm