File- 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 – 13 February 2021: Egypt has many scenarios when it comes to dealing with the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (GERD), said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in media remarks to Al-Hikaya talk show on MBC Masr on Friday.
“Some negotiations meetings did not tackle the technical problems in the way that we have expected or desired. There was a different vision by Sudan and Ethiopia regarding the negotiation,” said Shoukry, clarifying that there was a desire by the Sudanese party to change the way of negotiations and that is why the talks have suspended.
“We hope that Félix Tshisekedi [President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and current President of the African Union for 20210] to resume talks when he has been in Egypt. He voiced his willing to resume the negotiations. we also we are looking forward to more cooperation with Sudan, especially after forming the new government to put a vision on the upcoming septs,” Shoukry added.
“We are always talking about reaching a legal and binding agreement on filling and operation of the dam; an agreement takes into accounts the interests of the three countries,” he continued.
“There could be a new way of negotiations or propping new negotiators, saying that Egypt has no problem with that and Egypt affirms Egypt’s stance is balanced and just.
“Egypt, with all its institutions, takes into account the interest of its people, puts it in mind and never neglects the rights of Egyptians, and works with all its capabilities to prevent harm to Egypt,” he continued.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi surprisingly made remarks to MBC Masr’s Al-Hekaya program via telephone on January 6, 2021, discussing a number of topics, including the Ethiopian Dam talks and vaccination plans.
The president reassured citizens about both files. Concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Sisi said Egypt is fighting through negotiations, affirming that the ongoing talks to reach a binding legal agreement on the dam should lead to a result.
The GERD is the issue of all Egyptians and we are fighting through talks to ensure Egypt’s rights in this regard.
The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia 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 should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.
Washington had brokered tripartite negotiations among the three countries, in the presence of the President of the World Bank (WB) starting from November 6, 2019 until February 27 and 28, 2020.
During these rounds of talks, tangible outcomes were agreed on among the three parties concerning the rules and mechanism of operating the dam and the filling process of the reservoir during the drought and prolonged drought; however, an agreement was not sealed.
Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The Italian company is headquartered in Milan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.