Wed, 09 Jun 2021 - 09:20 GMT
CAIRO – 9 June 2021: Foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt and Sudan voiced deep concern over the possible risk of Ethiopia's unilateral filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) without reaching a binding legal agreement.
A statement issued Wednesday, following a meeting of the Egyptian and Sudanese foreign and irrigation ministers said Egyptian-Sudanese officials held positive talks as the two sides shared identical views in this respect.
The two countries' officials reiterated importance of rallying efforts in support of reaching a compromising solution for the GERD crisis that would realize interests of all parties, the statement added.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Ati led the Egyptian side to the talks with Sudanese Minister of Affairs Mariam al-Saddiq al-Mahdi and Sudanese Water and Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas.
Also, Egyptian and Sudanese water and legal experts took part in the meeting.
According to the statement, Egyptian-Sudanese talks pored over the latest developments regarding the GERD file, along with possible risks of Ethiopia's proceeding ahead unilaterally with the dam's filling and operation.
The two sides reiterated the importance of coordinating efforts on the international, regional and African levels to press Ethiopia to enter serious negotiations in this regard, with a view to reaching an overall binding legal solution on this score, the statement said.
The two countries shared identical views on coordination required for an immediate action to protect regional stability, peace and security in Africa, it added.
They accentuated the dire need for an action on the part of the international community to stave off risk of Ethiopia's continuing ahead with imposing a fait accompli on downstream countries, read the statement.
The Egyptian and Sudanese officials underscored keenness on boosting deeply-rooted bilateral ties, it said
Earlier in May, Egypt slammed recent Ethiopian remarks reiterating the unilateral plans to complete the Grand Dam (GERD) filling despite the absence of an agreement with Egypt and Sudan, saying it reveals Ethiopia’s bad intentions and efforts to undermine the ongoing mediation efforts.
The Ethiopian foreign ministry said it plans to start generating power from GERD in the upcoming rainy season between June and August.
The Egyptian ministry said its statement comes in response to Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti’s reiteration that his country will implement the second dam filling even if the three countries do not reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Egypt reiterates rejection of potential Ethiopian unilateral actions on GERD, the statement said, reaffirming objection to Ethiopia’s planned step to unilateral implement the second phase of GERD filling this Summer.
The Ethiopian spokesman’s remarks “reveal again Ethiopia’s bad intentions and its endeavor to undermine the ongoing efforts by international and African mediators to resolve the GERD crisis,” the Egyptian ministry said.
The ministry added that the Ethiopian remarks also show the latter’s “desire to impose the fait accompli against the downstream countries, a matter that Egypt did not and will not accept”.
Ethiopia conducted its first filling in July 2020 with 5 billion cubic meters. The total capacity of the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters to be filled over several years [the years number is still one of the disagreements between the three countries].
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters] after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
In March 2021, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stated, “No one can take a drop of water from Egypt... If it happens, there will be inconceivable instability in the region that no one could imagine. This is not a threat.”
Sudan, as well has warned more than once of filling the GERD before reaching a legal binding agreement.
Ethiopia, on the other side affirms that the second filling will be conducted, despite all negotiations and mediations.