Egypt will seek other options, including going to the United Nations Security Council, if Ethiopia remains intransigent during the new round of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry stated on Monday in Cairo.
According to the Egyptian foreign ministry, Shoukry said at a lecture organised by the Egyptian Business Council for International Cooperation that Egypt has been committed to negotiating in good faith to reach a balanced and fair agreement to the “GERD crisis” in the past years for the best interest of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
"The latest round of negotiations will not yield positive results as long as Ethiopia is intransigent, in which case Egypt will have to look into other options, such as going to the UN Security Council to shoulder its responsibility in protecting international peace and security by stopping Ethiopia from taking a unilateral action that will negatively affect Egypt’s water rights."
Shoukry’s statements came as the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have started another round of online talks over GERD on Monday after failing to reach an agreement a few days ago.
Egypt and Sudan presented last month two memos to the Security Council, detailing the GERD situation from its onset and how both countries have concerns about the dam which Ethiopia said it plans to fill in early July in violation of earlier agreements.
Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion megaproject on the Blue Nile will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.
But Egypt, which relies on the Blue Nile for 85 percent of its freshwater, fears the dam will diminish its water supply, which is already below scarcity level.
Egypt has a water share of around 570 cubic metres per person annually, well below the water scarcity level of 1,000 cubic metres per person per year. The figure is expected to drop further to 500 cubic metres by 2025.
On regional developments
During the lecture, Shoukry also discussed the global political, economic, and social challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and tackled several regional issues, including developments in Palestine, Libya, Yemen and Syria.
He stressed Egypt’s rejection of unilateral actions by Israel to annex the West Bank, stating this may end opportunities to revive the peace process based on the two states solution as well as the Arab Peace initiative.
On Libya, Shoukry spoke about the Cairo Declaration initiative Egypt announced two weeks ago, saying it was in line with the current UN initiatives and agreements.
“The initiative aims to ensure fair representation for Libya’s three provinces, unifying its institutions, and the fair distribution of Libya's wealth,” the Egyptian foreign minister said.
Shoukry asserted it is necessary to reach a comprehensive political settlement in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to ensure the country's unity and the safety of its institutions.
Shoukry also stated the Yemen crisis needed a political solution and an end to foreign intervention.