Sameh Shoukry says UNSC session on GERD 'preventive diplomacy'



Sun, 11 Jul 2021 - 11:04 GMT


Sun, 11 Jul 2021 - 11:04 GMT

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry answering reporters' question at the UNSC - Youtube still

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry answering reporters' question at the UNSC - Youtube still

CAIRO – 12 July 2021: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said that Ethiopia’s statement at the Security Council’s session on the Renaissance Dam (GERD) was not on par with Egypt’s or Sudan’s, naming multiple successes for the two downstream countries at the international event.

That the Security Council accepts holding two public sessions on GERD is an achievement on its own right, Shoukry told ON TV on Saturday. GERD is not a water issue, rather it is a peace and security issue and a matter of preventive diplomacy, and that has been proven time and again and it is still on the UNSC agenda for further talks, he explained.

“It is our duty to defend our people’s right to exist, and as such we are able to and have the capacity. But we want a solution, and we encourage our brothers in Ethiopia to change their path, and the international community and UNSC to send messages of that meaning,” the minister said.

“Egypt observes deliberations at UNSC closely and is ready to reciprocate any positive initiatives even more positively. We are also looking forward to initiatives from the African Union and our partners,” he added.

And aside from formalities, the UNSC session was a success for voicing the Egyptian people’s concerns and posing their fair cause at a forum that receives huge international attention, Shoukry continued.

Another achievement is the consensus among UNSC members that an agreement must be signed, according to Shoukry.

Further, upholding the African Union’s role in arriving at an agreement enhances the idea that negotiations cannot go on forever, as Egypt emphasized the stretch of time they have already taken.

Sudan also made the harm inflicted on it by the first filling crystal clear and held the UNSC responsible for any potential damages by the second unilateral filling, the Egyptian minister said.

The Ethiopian statement at UNSC on the other hand presented a week argument and that is being evaluated by the members, Egypt’s top diplomat said, adding that the session constituted a political burden on Ethiopia.

The statement was also redundant and predictable, so Egypt had responded to it in its earlier remarks. Ethiopia was never a colony to be forced to sign an agreement, and Egypt and Sudan are keen on development in Ethiopia as much as they are on other countries who share the same good will and help us towards developmental integration in the region, Shoukry emphasized.

It is, however, complicated at the UNSC due to the political calculations between permanent members on the one hand and non-permanent members on the other, so Egypt called for prioritizing the UNSC mission over national interests, Shoukry said.

Moving forward, Shoukry said it takes a while to come to a resolution at UNSC depending on the talks and the efforts of Tunisia, which submitted the draft resolution, and any amendments.

He also stated that Egypt deeply appreciate France’s statement at UNSC for mentioning the “unilateral filling” of GERD. Other statements that did not were attempting to balance their positions to maintain their interests with the 3 countries, Ethiopia included.

The EU’s statement ahead of the UNSC session was positive to Egypt and mentioned the need for an agreement and the threat of unilateral filling.

Meanwhile, Russia’s UNSC statement on preventing “threatening messages” is ambiguous, Shoukry said, adding that Ethiopia often threats that it would continue to fill the dam unilaterally, allow no coordinated administration, and would not sign an agreement, or protect the dam from a hypothetical danger.

Egypt expects the UNSC’s output to be resumed negotiations with the involvement of our partners from the U.S., EU, UN, and perhaps South Africa to reach an agreement, unlike previous negotiations. He said Egypt did not set a time frame but stressed the importance of a reasonable window.

Ethiopia has started the second filling, but other unilateral moves can still be prevented, hence the principal of “unilateralism” in the draft resolution, he continued



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