Egypt requests clarification from Ethiopia after reports on unilateral dam filling



Wed, 15 Jul 2020 - 04:36 GMT


Wed, 15 Jul 2020 - 04:36 GMT

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - Reuters

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - Reuters

CAIRO – 15 July 2020: The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has requested an “urgent official clarification” from the Ethiopian government after reports quoted the irrigation minister as saying that his country started filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), after rounds of ineffective negotiations.


“Egypt continues to follow up on the developments on what has been circulated by media around this issue,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.


Irrigation announced, Wednesday, the start of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) according to Sky news.


The announcement comes shortly after announcing that the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia did not achieve any progress or an agreement.


Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Monday that the negotiations on GERD between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia will continue as per the African Union vision; however, the parties still did not reach an agreement.


He said in press statements that the current negotiations did not achieve any progress or an agreement with the Ethiopian part.


Shoukry added that a report shall be submitted to the African Union, then a meeting between the presidents of the three countries shall be held to realize an agreement.


The Sudanese government said Tuesday that the country submitted a report on the GERD to the African Union after the end of the negotiations between the ministers of irrigation of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopian.


The report mentioned that not much progress was achieved during the negotiations that lasted 11 days.

Security Council

Egypt then decided to refer the issue to the United Nations Security Council, in a bid to prevent Ethiopia from taking unilateral measures on filling and operating the dam.

Egypt has affirmed it is not against the GERD as a developmental project for Ethiopia, but that it wants an agreement that would guarantee Egypt’s water security rights and help the international community supervise the project and make sure it does not harm the interests of any of Egypt and Sudan. However, Egypt says Ethiopia’s “intransigence” has been an obstacle.

Despite legal steps taken by Egypt, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt still aims to resume talks with Ethiopia and Sudan, in an effort to reach a “fair” agreement that would serve the interests of the three countries. In the letter sent to the UNSC, Egypt has called on the council to urge Ethiopia to return to talks, in order to reach a “fair and balanced” solution on the crisis. Egypt also said filling the dam without an agreement can put Egypt in a “clear” danger.

GERD: Egypt's struggle to reach 'fair' deal crashing into Ethiopia's 'intransigence'

After a decade of discussing technical and legal issues of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Egypt seemingly found it is time to take further steps, in a bid to bring Ethiopia back on negotiations track or at least stop it from filling the dam next mon

Unilateral Move

In June, the Sudanese Foreign Minister Asmaa Mohamed Abdullah said in a statement that the latest round of negotiations on the Ethiopian dam between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia achieved noticeable progress on the technical level.

Abdullah said that a dispute remains between the three states as a political consensus is not reached yet to continue the negotiations. She added that the file has been referred to the Prime Ministers of the three countries to end this political dispute.

The minister asserted Sudan’s rejection to any unilateral move and any Ethiopian decision to start filling the dam without the approval of the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan.

In his speech at the Security Council meeting on the dam, the Egyptian Foreign Minister denounced absence of guarantees on the safety of the Ethiopian dam on the downstream countries - Egypt and Sudan -.

“While we recognize the importance of this project to the developmental objectives of the Ethiopian people, a goal that we share and support, it is essential to realize that this mega-dam, which is Africa’s largest hydropower facility, potentially threatens the welfare, wellbeing, and existence of millions of Egyptian and Sudanese citizens,” Shoukry said.

“Therefore, the unilateral filling and operation of this dam, without an agreement that includes the necessary precautions to protect downstream communities and to prevent the infliction of significant harm on their riparian rights, would heighten tensions and could provoke crises and conflicts that further destabilize an already troubled region.”

“As a responsible stakeholder, Egypt elected to bring this matter to the attention of the Security Council to forestall further escalation and to ensure that unilateral actions do not undermine efforts to reach an agreement on the GERD or prejudice the riparian rights and interests of downstream states, or, more alarmingly, to endanger the lives of almost 150 million Egyptian and Sudanese citizens, thereby generating greater tension in an unstable region.”



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