U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry following their meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs in Cairo, Egypt, January 10, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
CAIRO – 24 June 2020: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday. The ministers discussed recent developments in the region, especially in Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen.
Shoukry and Pompeo also discussed updates of the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said, few days after Egypt had referred the issue to the United Nations Security Council, in a bid to prevent Ethiopia from taking unilateral measures on filling and operating the dam.
Shoukry reviewed with Pompeo the Egyptian efforts aiming at reaching peaceful settlement, achieving stability in the region and facing terrorism and foreign interference.
The ministers also highlighted the strategic and private relations between Egypt and the US and agreed to continue coordination on all issues of mutual concern during the coming period.
Earlier in June, the American National Security Council posted a tweet in which it urged the Ethiopian government to reach a “fair” deal on the Ethiopian Dam with the downstream countries of Sudan and Egypt.
“257 million people in east Africa are relying on Ethiopia to show strong leadership, which means striking a fair deal. Technical issues have been resolved – time to get the GERD deal done before filling it with Nile River water!” the tweet said.
However, on June 17, Egypt’s Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aaty said talks to resolve differences on filling and operating GERD were concluded, after failing to persuade Ethiopia to refer the issue to the prime ministers of the three countries as a last chance to reach an agreement.
Abdel Aaty said the discussions have not achieved any significant progress, due to Ethiopia’s “rigid” stances on the technical and legal sides.
Ethiopia has refused to allow the three states to conclude a binding agreement that is consistent with international law and affirmed sticking to reaching only guidelines that Ethiopia can amend individually, the minister said.
Ethiopia also sought to obtain an absolute right to establish projects on the upper reaches of the Blue Nile River, Abdel Aaty said. It also refrained from agreeing on including a binding legal mechanism to settle disputes and effective procedures to face drought in the GERD agreement.