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Egypt Looks Forward to US Role in Renaissance Dam Tripped Negotiations

Egypt Looks Forward to US Role in Renaissance Dam Tripped Negotiations

Sunday, 6 October, 2019 - 10:00
A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia March 31, 2015. REUTER/Tiksa Negeri

The Egyptian Presidency said it was looking forward to a US role in the negotiations over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam, underlining the need for an international mediation into the matter.

Egypt’s position came at the end of talks with Sudan and Ethiopia, in Khartoum, between the water ministers of the three countries. Cairo said that the representatives of Addis Ababa at the Khartoum meeting “rejected all proposals that take into account Egypt’s water interests and avoid causing serious harm.”

Immediately after the meeting reached a deadlock, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a statement about the recent developments.

“I have followed closely on the results of the tripartite meeting between irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to discuss the file of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which has not resulted in any positive development,” Sisi said.

“I affirm that the Egyptian state, with all its institutions, is committed to protecting Egypt’s water rights in the River Nile,” he underlined.

“Egypt will continue to take the necessary political measures within the framework of the International Law to protect these rights. The Eternal Nile will continue to strongly stream, connecting the South and the North with the bond of history and geography,” Sisi added.

Egypt fears that the Ethiopian dam could damage its share of the Nile's water, estimated at 55.5 billion cubic meters.

The country said on Saturday that Ethiopia refused to discuss the rules of operation of the dam, and insisted on limiting the negotiation of the filling phase and the rules of operation during the filling phase, contrary to Article 5 of the text of the Declaration of Principles signed in Khartoum on March 23, 2015 and to international norms for cooperation in building and managing dams on common rivers.

The Egyptian presidential spokesman said Egypt “looks forward to the United States playing an active role in this regard.”

Last month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry raised the issue of the Renaissance Dam with his counterparts from four countries, including Russia, in separate bilateral meetings in New York, on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the United Nations.

Ethiopian Minister of Resources and Irrigation Seleshi Bekele told a press conference on Saturday that negotiations between the irrigation ministers have not reached a dead end. He explained that Egypt submitted a proposal demanding 40 billion cubic meters per year, while Ethiopia's stock is 20 billion cubic meters, adding that the Egyptian delegation rejected a proposal from Sudan for 35 billion cubic meters.

The Ethiopian minister expressed his country’s rejection of any mediation from any side, and said: “Negotiations will continue between the three countries until an agreement is reached.”

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