Egyptian foreign Minister SamehShoukry met on Thursday with African Ambassadors in Cairo on Thursday, March 5, 2020- press photo
CAIRO - 8 March 2020: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met on March 5with the African ambassadors in Cairo to discuss the latest developments regarding the Renaissance Dam following Ethiopia's announcement to fill the reservoir, without reaching an agreement with Egypt and Sudan.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said that Shoukry reviewed Egypt’s serious and sincere efforts towards reaching a just and balanced agreement that realizes the interests of the three stakeholders.
“Minister Shoukry affirmed that Egypt's commitment to exerting efforts to promote joint African action is not limited to its term as the African Union Chair, stressing that Egypt will continue to support the joint efforts exerted by African countries during its current membership in the various AU organs and mechanisms, in order to achieve the African aspirations,” Hafez said.
“Minister Shoukry indicated that Egypt's endeavors stem from the conviction that African countries are able to work together to overcome the challenges facing the continent, and achieve peace and prosperity for all African peoples, activating the principle of 'African solutions to African problems'," he added.
In an interview with the Egyptian TV Program "9 O'clock PM", Shoukry described the recent Ethiopian statements regarding filling the Renaissance Dam as politically and legally unacceptable as well as surprising.
Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries.
The Ethiopian announcement came in response to the American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.
On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S., WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.
In a joint statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Egyptian government expressed its unease over the statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irrigation and Energy, in which Ethiopia announced that it will fill the GERD’s reservoir despite the U.S. warning of taking action without an agreement with the downstream countries.
The difference between the three Nile basin countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.
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. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.