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UK Becomes Indirectly Involved in GERD Crisis

UK Becomes Indirectly Involved in GERD Crisis

Tuesday, 5 April, 2022 - 08:30
The Ethiopian flag is seen at the GERD in Guba, Ethiopia, February 19, 2022. (AFP)

The UK has become involved in the conflict between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), but it is preferring to play an "indirect" role by encouraging the three countries to reach a suitable solution

British ambassador to Cairo Gareth Bayley said: "Britain is participating behind the scenes and encouraging Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, behind the scenes to reach an appropriate solution."

Addis Ababa began building the dam on the main tributary of the Nile in 2011, completing 80 percent of the construction.

Cairo and Khartoum demand that Addis Ababa refrain from taking any unilateral measures concerning filling or operating the dam before concluding a binding legal agreement.

Bailey told Egypt's TEN channel that the Nile is essential for Egypt, despite the potential for desalination plants.

"We see that many partners are encouraging the parties to reach an appropriate solution, and we see several partners who are willing to get involved in the matter. We do not want to complicate the matter by adding our voice as an official voice on the issue," Bayley said.

He announced that the UK is involved from behind the scenes and encourages Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to reach an appropriate solution, and "if there is an official request for us to add our efforts and encourage countries to reach a solution, surely we will think of it."

The last negotiation between the three countries was about a year ago, under the auspices of the African Union, after which Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia announced their failure to make a breakthrough.

Egypt and Sudan then resorted to the UN Security Council, which issued a "presidential resolution" in mid-September, encouraging the three countries to resume negotiations under the auspices of the AU and reach a binding agreement within a reasonable time. However, its decision has remained without activation so far.

Bayley said the British government fully understands the importance of the GERD issue to Egypt and, therefore, it backed bringing the matter before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last year.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in Egypt developed a new mobile application to manage water resources, irrigate lands, monitor encroachments on the Nile, and several other uses.

Water Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aty stated that the ministry had implemented many of the works required to monitor and control water resources from 254 locations.

The minister explained that this would enable the ministry to make the necessary decisions towards achieving rational management of water resources, meeting all the different sectors' water needs, and executing economic and social development plans.

Abdel-Aty continued that work has been done to ensure the continuity and efficiency of monitoring, operation, and network maintenance of the real-time monitoring network by mobile communications, consisting of more than 200 field locations among irrigation departments in the country.

He stressed optimal utilization of the system's outputs from the administrations by designing databases and providing these data periodically.

The reports are shared with decision-makers in the ministry through multiple accounts and mechanisms, including e-mail and SMS text messages.

He pointed out that these reports enable accurate follow-up of the water distribution system and its uses, allowing the officials to make appropriate decisions at the right time.

Satellite images are also used to determine the nature of land uses around the main course of the Nile and its two branches, and to monitor the encroachments, said the minister.

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