FM clarifies when Egypt will resort to UN Security Council over Ethiopian Dam crisis

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Mon, 12 Apr 2021 - 12:22 GMT

FILE - Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry

FILE - Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry

CAIRO – 12 April 2021: Answering a question on when Egypt will resort to the UN Security Council over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry said, "the stages of reaching out to partner states and international organizations follow a pre-set plan that is being carried out according to a precise timeline. If a harm is inflicted on Egypt by reducing its water share, that would be considered a hostile act. International law provides methods to respond to hostile acts, and those acts are gradual [in intensity]."

 

"They begin with diplomatic and political measures as well as the mediation of parties that have impact on the scene, and end with the willpower of the afflicted state to take measures it perceives as suitable, whereas all options become on the table," Shokry noted.

 

The minister affirmed in a phone-in Sunday that the Egyptian state institutions have prepared different scenarios to handle the crisis, and pointed out that Egypt's responses are aligned with the developments of the issue.

 

"When anyone attempts to harm the interest of the Egyptian people, we as government and people have the ability to repel them," Shokry underlined.

 

"We hope Ethiopia abandons its intransigence and agrees on reaching a legal binding agreement before the second filling," the minister said. He added that the second filling is another proof that Ethiopia insists to breach international laws regulating transboundary rivers by embarking on unilateral measures.

 

Shokry underlined that the tripartite – Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan – has been negotiating for a decade, which means that all aspects of the issue are very well known to each of them.

 

A whole agreement was drafted in Washington meetings early in 2020 so "if there is a political willpower," a legal binding agreement will be inked," the minister asserted.

 

Egypt and Sudan are moving on all levels to acquaint the international community with the outcome of negotiations with Ethiopia, and what they have showed of resilience in spite of the Ethiopian obstinacy. That step is within willingness to repulse any damages to both downstream countries, Shokry declared.

 

Those moves take place in any consultations by the president, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies with other states, the chief of Egyptian diplomacy stated.

 

"We work on affirming the necessity of closing a deal, and persuading Ethiopia to refrain from its intransigence as well as indicating the risks on regional and international security and stability that would be incurred of any irresponsible act that jeopardizes the interest of both downstream countries," the minister stipulated.

 

Shokry underscored that the 2015 Declaration of Principles designates ways of preserving the rights of the three states, and that Egypt would never withdraw from an agreements it had joined in its free will. The minister pointed out that Ethiopia has never abided by that agreement.

 

In mid-July 2020, Ethiopian authorities unilaterally carried out the first phase of the filling process with 4.9 billion cubic meters; and it is expected – as reported by the BBC- that the second phase of the filling would reach 13 billion cubic meters.

 

The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].

 

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam, whose capacity is 74 billion cubic meters and is planned to generate 6,000 megawatts per annum through 16 turbines.

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