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.



US Criticizes ICJ Opinion that Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories is Illegal

FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
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US Criticizes ICJ Opinion that Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories is Illegal

FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view shows mobile homes in the Jewish settlement of Givat Haroeh in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, February 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

The United States criticized "the breadth" of the top UN court's opinion in which the International Court of Justice said Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal, with Washington saying it will complicate efforts to resolve the conflict.
"We have been clear that Israel's program of government support for settlements is both inconsistent with international law and obstructs the cause of peace," a US State Department spokesperson said on Saturday in an email.
"However, we are concerned that the breadth of the court's opinion will complicate efforts to resolve the conflict and bring about an urgently needed just and lasting peace, with two states living side-by-side in peace and security," the State Department added.

In The Hague, ICJ presiding judge Nawaf Salam said: "The court has found... that Israel's continued presence in the Palestinian Territories is illegal."

Israel is "under the obligation to bring to an end its unlawful presence as rapidly as possible," the judge said in its finding, read at the Peace Palace, seat of the ICJ.

The ICJ added that Israel was "under an obligation to cease immediately all new settlement activities and to evacuate all settlers" from occupied land.

Israel's policies and practices, including the maintenance of a wall between the territories, "amount to annexation of large parts" of the occupied territory, the court said.