Sisi: Egypt Considers GERD a Matter of National Security

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. AFP file photo
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. AFP file photo
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Sisi: Egypt Considers GERD a Matter of National Security

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. AFP file photo
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. AFP file photo

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Friday that Cairo considers the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) a matter of national security, holding onto Egypt’s water rights.

“The president stressed the importance of this issue as a matter of national security and Egypt’s clinging to its water rights through reaching a legally binding agreement on clear rules of filling and operating the dam,” presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement.

Sisi was speaking during a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The two officials discussed a number of regional issues, including the situation in Libya, as well as the developments on the Ethiopian dam crisis.

A day earlier, Egypt accused Addis Ababa of showing its intention to impose a fait accompli on the Nile downstream countries by attempting to continue filling GERD.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that water is a matter of existence, warning about the crisis of water scarcity and its profound effects on the countries that suffer shortages and the need to take urgent measures to support them.

In a speech at the UN High-Level meeting on the implementation of the water-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, the PM said his country seeks a fair and balanced agreement in the negotiations on the dam.

Madbouly said Egypt’s annual share of water is 560 cubic meters per person, adding that his country is among the driest countries with the least access to renewable water resources. “It is also among the top countries globally in terms of dependency on a single source of water,” he said.

Egypt insists on the necessity of reaching a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating GERD in a manner that preserves common interests while continuing negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia.

In his phone call with Johnson, Sisi stressed Egypt’s keenness on boosting cooperation with Britain in different domains and importing technology from Britain.

He also asserted interest in promoting coordination on regional and international issues of common concern.

The British PM expressed appreciation to Egypt’s efforts in solving the Libyan crisis and restoring state institutions.



White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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White House: Qatar and Egypt Plan Talks with Hamas on Gaza Ceasefire

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, US, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Saturday that mediators for Qatar and Egypt plan to engage Hamas militants soon to see if there is a way to push ahead with a Gaza ceasefire proposal offered by US President Joe Biden.

Sullivan spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Ukraine peace summit and was asked about diplomatic efforts to get an agreement for Hamas to release some hostages held since Oct. 7 in exchange for a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks.

Sullivan said he had spoken briefly to one of the main interlocutors, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and that they would speak again about Gaza on Sunday while both are in Switzerland for the Ukraine conference, Reuters reported.

Hamas has welcomed the ceasefire proposal, but insists any agreement must secure an end to the war, a demand Israel still rejects. Israel described Hamas's response to the new US peace proposal as total rejection.

Sullivan said that US officials have taken a close look at Hamas's response.

"We think some of the edits are not unexpected and can be managed. Some of them are inconsistent both with what President Biden laid out and what the UN Security Council endorsed. And we are having to deal with that reality," he said.

He said US officials believe there remains an avenue to an agreement and that the next step will be for Qatari and Egyptian mediators to talk to Hamas and "go through what can be worked with and what really can’t be worked with."

"We anticipate a back-and-forth between the mediators and Hamas. We’ll see where we stand at that point. We will keep consulting with the Israelis and then hopefully at some point next week we’ll be able to report to you where we think things stand and what we see as being the next step to try to bring this to closure," he said.