Shoukry says Egypt seeks to reach legally binding agreement on GERD filling

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Sun, 27 Jun 2021 - 09:49 GMT

A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia June 26, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies via REUTERS

A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia June 26, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies via REUTERS

CAIRO - 27 July 2020: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt seeks to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as the international community is aware of the great danger it poses on downstream countries.

 

In a phone interview with 'Kelma Akhira' TV program, Shoukry said that failing short to overcome obstacles hindering a solution over the GERD would further scale up violence and conflict in East Africa and the Horn on Africa.

 

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should shoulder its responsibility towards containing repercussions of the failure of talks in this respect, the foreign minister said.

 

Egypt will continue to put forth its vision vis-à-vis GERD, Shoukry said, adding that the dam issue should be taken with great seriousness.

 

Regarding the stance of interfering in river-related issues, the minister said that the countries nominated for membership in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to maintain international security and stability must play their role regarding water-related issues or any issue affecting international security and stability.

 

"Egypt is pressing ahead with all political and diplomatic efforts in GERD talks, to reach out a fruitful result to achieve its goal, giving the priority to protecting Egyptians' interests," he said.

 

As for Ethiopian officials' statements on GERD, Shoukri dubbed the Ethiopian statements as "provocative", stating that such statements were meant to dissuade Egypt from the main topic. He said Egypt adopts a balanced policy that enjoys wide world respect. 

 

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.
 
 
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”.
 

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