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Wednesday, 08 July 2020

Egypt seeks Arab support in GERD issue

Egypt’s FM told the Arab League that Ethiopia is reneging on its commitment to the deceleration of principles agreement signed in 2015

Ahram Online , Wednesday 4 Mar 2020
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS
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Views: 6519
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that Cairo is seeking Arab countries' support in the balanced draft resolution submitted on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which includes a number of important elements that would make it clear to Ethiopia that Arab countries stand in support of Egypt and Sudan.
The Egyptian foreign minister made the statement in his speech before the Arab League's 153th ministerial meeting held in Cairo on Wednesday. 
In his speech, Shoukry accused Ethiopia of evading its commitment to the declaration of principles agreement signed in 2015, which stipulates that the GERD’s filling and operation process is not to begin until a comprehensive agreement is reached with Egypt and Sudan.
Shoukry affirmed that the declaration of principles also stipulates that environmental, economic and social impact studies must be conducted, and that Ethiopia has obstructed these studies in order to obscure any scientific evidence of the negative impact of the dam on the downstream countries.
"This constitutes a clear violation of the rules of international law and the principle of not causing any significant harm to the interests of riparian states," Shoukry said.
"In 2014, Egypt started a painstaking negotiation process that brought together the brotherly countries of Sudan and Ethiopia. The Egyptian negotiating stance was based on good intentions with the aim of reaching a fair and comprehensive agreement that secures the common interests of the three countries [Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan] and fulfils the developmental aspiration of Ethiopia as a brotherly African country, while preserving the water interests of both Egypt and Sudan and preventing serious harm to their interests,” the Egyptian FM said.
The Egyptian FM affirmed that the disruption of direct negotiations between the three countries over a period of five years, during which dozens of negotiation rounds took place at the technical and ministerial levels, led to Egypt's call for international parties to participate as mediators.
"The United States responded to this call and participated in the extensive negotiations held since last November and attended by the World Bank, which ended up with a balanced and fair agreement on the basis of negotiations that took place between the three countries, including detailed rules for filling and operating the GERD and specific procedures for coping with droughts, extended droughts, and scarce flow," Shoukry said.
“In a sign of good intentions and sincere political will, Egypt signed the agreement prepared by the international mediators, while Ethiopia did not accept this agreement and was absent from the last ministerial meeting called for by the American administration on 27 and 28 February," the Egyptian FM added.
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