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Egypt Seeks International Support in GERD Talks

Egypt Seeks International Support in GERD Talks

Wednesday, 14 April, 2021 - 07:15
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). File photo

Egypt addressed the UN Security Council and the General Assembly on Tuesday, seeking international support on the dispute over the mega-dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

Cairo appealed for a UN role that would contribute to resolving the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis through a binding legal agreement.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed the dispute during a telephone conversation.

The FM stressed his country’s keenness to reach a legally binding agreement over the operation and filling of the dam.

He warned against Addis Ababa’s unilateral second filling of the dam next July before reaching a binding agreement, noting that it would affect “regional security and stability”.

Shoukry further pointed to the importance of the role played by the UN and its agencies to push for resuming negotiations and reaching the desired agreement, in addition to backing the African Union in its mission.

According to a foreign ministry statement, Shoukry sent letters to Guterres and the presidents of the Security Council and General Assembly, requesting that they circulate them as an official document.

The letters include various stages of negotiations on the dam and the latest developments, the statement noted.

Ethiopia began constructing the 1.8-kilometer-long GERD in 2011 as a key to its economic development and power generation.

Egypt fears the dam will imperil its supplies of Nile water, while Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and water flows through its own dams and water stations.

Both countries continue to stress the need to reach a binding and comprehensive agreement that guarantees the rights and interests of the three countries.

Addis Ababa finished in July 2020 the first phase of filling the reservoir, in preparation for its operation, and announced going ahead with the second filling in the next rainy season.

The latest round of talks between the three countries in Kinshasa ended earlier this month with no progress made.

Sudan and Egypt were aligned on a proposal to include the European Union, United States and United Nations in the negotiations, as an addition to current African Union mediators.

Both countries said Ethiopia rejected the proposal during the meeting, as well as other suggestions to re-start negotiations.

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