FILE- A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region in this March 16, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/Files FILE- A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region in this March 16, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/Files

GERD negotiations resume Sept. 15 after stopping for months

Sun, Sep. 15, 2019
CAIRO - 15 September 2019: Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry stated that a new round of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will start on Sept. 15 after being halted for a year and several months.

The minister pointed out that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have not reached an accord on filling the reservoir over the past years.

The minister’s statements came in a press conference with his Kenyan counterpart Monica Juma. Shoukry affirmed that Egypt aspires to overcome all obstacles, underlining the necessity to reach an accord. He added that Egypt still supports Ethiopia’s right in development.

Shoukry clarified that Egypt will endure grave damages if an accord is not concluded. The minister highlighted that such a scenario will be a breach of the principles of international law. Egypt perceives the negotiations as scientific and cannot be politically interpreted. Hence, Egypt wants an accord that is based on scientific facts.

The minister said Egypt urges Sudan and Ethiopia to get ready for what Egypt will put forward on that matter, affirming that Egypt will present a comprehensive plan that achieves justice for the three countries. The minister added that Egypt accepts discussions and remarks in order to reach an agreement.

The minister asserted that there is no way any party will impose their will on the other, expressing hope today’s meeting will be fruitful and that an accord will be reached in accordance with the timetable.

Minister Juma said she is delivering a message from the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Egyptian counterpart who is also the chair of the African Union (AU). The talks covered peace and security in Africa, development, and joint resources as well as the affairs of East Africa. The minister said she encourages Kenyans to visit Egypt and to boost cooperation with Egypt in different sectors.

Shokry stated that the talks included Kenya’s potential candidacy to be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The minister revealed that the meetings of the joint committee will be held by the end of the year and will result in positive outcomes. Shokry added he looks forward to the Kenyan’s president's visit to Cairo.

Cairo voiced its unease concerning the prolonged negotiations with Addis Ababa on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said Hamdi Louza, Deputy Minister for the African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Thursday.

He held a meeting with the European ambassadors to Egypt on Thursday to update them on the latest developments between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan over the dam, the statement said, clarifying that Egypt had submitted the two other countries "a fair proposal for the dam operation and filling its reservoir.

The problematic point between Egypt and Ethiopia is a technical one related to the period of filling the dam’s reservoir with water. Ethiopia asked for 5-6 years to fill the reservoir, while Egypt asked Ethiopia to abide by the Nile water quantity flow in filling the reservoir to “avoid any significant damage on the downstream countries,” former Head of the Central Department for Technical Cooperation at the Nile Sector of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mamdouh Mohamed Hassan told Egypt Today in previous remarks.

Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011. A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan has begun in 2014. One year later, the three countries reached an agreement, per which the downstream countries should not be affected by the construction of the dam.

Both President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed affirmed their keenness to resume the negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

Additional reporting by Samar Samir
 
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