Egypt Intensifies Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve GERD Dispute

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received on Tuesday his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi. (Egypt presidency spokesman)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received on Tuesday his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi. (Egypt presidency spokesman)
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Egypt Intensifies Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve GERD Dispute

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received on Tuesday his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi. (Egypt presidency spokesman)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received on Tuesday his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi. (Egypt presidency spokesman)

Egypt has continued its international diplomatic efforts to move forward the stalled talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), hoping to pressure Ethiopia to reach a legally binding agreement on regulating the dam’s filling and operation.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi received on Tuesday his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi, the next president of the African Union (AU), which has been sponsoring talks between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa since July 2020.

According to presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady, they discussed the latest regional developments, especially the GERD issue, and agreed to bolster coordination and joint consultation.

Sisi highlighted Egypt’s position that “the Nile River is a source of cooperation and development and a lifeline that links peoples of the Nile Basin countries.”

Leaders held individual discussions followed by expanded discussions between both countries’ delegations, the presidential statement noted.

The statement quoted Tshisekedi as expressing appreciation for the distinguished historic relations with Egypt and the sincere and firm Egyptian political support for Congo.

He stressed his country’s keenness to develop these relations in various fields, especially trade and economic cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian embassy in Washington held on Monday an expanded virtual session with Congress aides from the House and Senate.

During the session, Ambassador Motaz Zahran reviewed the GERD’s “negative impact” on Egypt and Sudan’s water security.

Cairo is not opposed to Ethiopia's right to development, provided that its aspirations do not affect Egyptian interests and water security, Zahran stressed.

The meeting aims to provide an accurate explanation to Congress members on Egypt’s stance on the negotiations.

Cairo and Khartoum stress the need to reach a binding and comprehensive agreement that guarantees the rights and interests of the three countries, and include a mechanism for settling disputes filling and operation of the dam.

They fear the potential negative impact of GERD on the flow of their annual share of the Nile’s 55.5 billion cubic meters of water.

The GERD dispute has taken two courses of so far faltered negotiations. The first was mediated by the US, the World Bank and European Union observers in early 2020 and the second by the AU.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.