Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said following US-sponsored Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan meetings in Washington on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), that the talks, in which the World Bank took part, have yielded positive results that would help fix the path of future negotiations and outline a clear and precise timeframe for them.
He also said that a decision was reached on holding four urgent trilateral meetings at the level of the water resources ministers and with the participation of representatives from the US and the World Bank to reach an agreement on filling and operating the dam’s reservoir within a period of two months and by 15 January 2020. During the course of that period, he pointed out, two meetings will be held in Washington at the invitation of US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin to assess the progress of negotiations.
The top diplomat expressed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s deep appreciation of US President Donald Trump’s decision to sponsor the three-way talks and his reception of the three parties’ ministers, praising the constructive and pivotal role Trump and his country have undertaken regarding this matter. He noted that the US stance reflects the depth of strategic Egyptian-American relations and voiced his belief that Washington’s mediation efforts will help in reaching an agreement that would contribute to realizing stability and development in the East Africa region.
The foreign minister praised the constructive role played by the US Secretary of Treasury and the great care he has given to the GERD issue during his chairmanship of the trilateral talks.
He pointed out that Cairo has sought during the intensive GERD meetings in Washington on asserting that it wants to reach a balanced agreement that would allow Ethiopia to achieve its purpose from building the hydropower project without harming Egypt’s national interest and rights to the Nile waters which are a matter of existence for it.
The minister applauded the efforts exerted by the technical and legal teams of the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation during a series of intensive meetings to explain to the US Administration and the World Bank officials the fairness of Egypt’s stance vis-a-vis this vital issue.