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Egypt Pushes Towards Resuming GERD Negotiations

Egypt Pushes Towards Resuming GERD Negotiations

Saturday, 3 July, 2021 - 07:00
Nile fishermen protect stocks by pulling plastic from river. Reuters

Cairo has reiterated that it was willing to resume negotiations on the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) in order to reach a legally binding agreement.

It also slammed Ethiopian intransigence and unilateral act.

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Aty said that Egypt was one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, with its resources estimated at about 60 billion cubic meters annually.

While most of this amount came from the Nile, there were also very limited amounts from rainwater and deep groundwater in deserts.

Egypt needs annually around 114 billion cubic meters of water, he pointed out.

He made his remarks at the high-level ministerial meeting organized by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety.

Aty said that Egypt supported development in the Nile Basin and African countries as it had established rainwater harvesting dams and underground drinking water stations.

He also stressed Egypt’s quest for a just and binding legal agreement, meeting the aspirations of all countries in development, warning that any action taken by Addis Ababa without such a deal and without coordination with the downstream countries - Egypt and Sudan - was an unwelcomed unilateral act.

Aty stressed his country’s persistence in preserving its water rights.

Ambassador Maged Abdel-Fattah, the Arab League representative to the UN, expected the Security Council to meet before July 10 to discuss the dispute on GERD.

“GERD is a project purely for the generation of electricity for economic development and has no other ill-intention meant to harm the downstream” countries, said Ethiopian Ambassador to South Sudan Nebil Mahdi.

He rejected the Security Council’s involvement, saying the “African-led negotiation process is the only platform for achieving the objective of a lasting solution over GERD.”

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