File- President Abdel Fatah El Sisi with UN Secretary General António Guterres in Japan- press photo
CAIRO - 10 Jun 2021: Egypt affirms its rejection of any unilateral measures related to filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, calling for the need to reach a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Dam, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
Egypt’s clear stance was voiced by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in a phone call with Secretary-General António Guterres, who was nominated by Security Council for a second term as UN chief, added.
Shoukry called upon the United Nations and the UN Security Council to contribute to pushing Ethiopia to seriously engage in negotiations to reach the desired agreement, the statement said.
On Wednesday evening, Foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt and Sudan voiced deep concern over the possible risk of Ethiopia's unilateral filling and operation of the GERD, without reaching a binding legal agreement.
The two countries' officials reiterated the importance of rallying efforts in support of reaching a compromising solution for the GERD crisis that would realize the interests of all parties.
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 immediate action to protect regional stability, peace, and security in Africa.
They accentuated the dire need for an action on the part of the international community to stave off the risk of Ethiopia's continuing ahead with imposing a fait accompli on downstream countries, read the statement.
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.
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.
Egypt 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 legally binding agreement.
Ethiopia, on the other side, affirms that the second filling will be conducted, despite all negotiations and mediations.