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Egypt Seeks Int’l Support in Negotiations over Renaissance Dam

Egypt Seeks Int’l Support in Negotiations over Renaissance Dam

Sunday, 29 September, 2019 - 08:00
A boat transports people along the river Nile in Cairo, Egypt July 2, 2019. (Reuters)

Days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for “international intervention” in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations, Cairo accelerated on Saturday the pace of rallying support from different capitals for its position in the deadlocked talks.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry raised the issue with his counterparts from four countries, including Russia, in separate bilateral meetings in New York, on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly.

Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam will damage its limited share of the Nile water, estimated at 55.5 billion cubic meters. Cairo says Addis Ababa has rejected its proposals on rules for filling and operating the dam.

Shoukry met on Saturday with the foreign ministers of South Sudan, Burundi, Senegal and Russia, in separate meetings, to brief them on the “developments of the negotiations of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”

The intense Egyptian action comes days before the start of an urgent meeting of the independent scientific group, which will kick off in Khartoum on Monday, and will continue until Thursday, to discuss the Egyptian proposal for the rules of filling and operating the dam, as well as the comments of Ethiopia and Sudan.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that during his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Shoukry was keen to explain the latest developments in the negotiations, stressing that the issue of the Nile River water was a matter of life and existence for Egypt.

Addressing the General Assembly on Tuesday, Sisi said the international community should play a “constructive role” in urging all parties to be flexible in the negotiations over the dam, in order to reach an agreement that achieves a common interest for all.

He also warned against the repercussions of the stalled discussions, which he said would have “negative repercussions on stability, as well as on the development in the region in general and Egypt in particular.”

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