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Egypt Intensifies Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve GERD Dispute

Egypt Intensifies Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve GERD Dispute

Wednesday, 3 February, 2021 - 09:45
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.

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