Egypt's foreign minister in Washington in final attempt to resolve GERD dispute

Menna Alaa El-Din , Saturday 11 Jan 2020

The Egyptian foreign minister’s visit comes one day after Cairo and Addis Ababa exchanged blames on the deadlock in talks over the Ethiopian dam

File Photo: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: AP)

Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shourky travelled to Washington to participate in the final meeting hosted by the US on 13-14 January with the foreign and water ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), nearly one day after a tug-of-war of accusations between Cairo and Addis Ababa on the collapse of talks.

According to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry on Saturday, Shoukry will participate in the meeting hosted by the US in the attendance of representatives from the US and the World Bank “to complete negotiations aiming to reach a fair and balanced agreement on the filling and operations of GERD.”

Shoukry will also hold talks with many officials in the US administration and Congress to discuss bilateral ties and hold consultations on regional developments and issues of common interest.

The Egyptian foreign minister’s visit comes as both Egypt and Ethiopia exchanged blames on the deadlock in talks over the Ethiopian dam.

Egypt’s foreign ministry has slammed on Friday a statement by Ethiopia on the collapse of the latest negotiations on GERD, describing it as “deliberately misleading” and “distorting the facts.”

Ethiopia accused Egypt of trying to reinforce “self-claimed sole ownership of the Nile waters” with a “proposal of filling in 12-21 years.” Egypt has rejected such claims, saying it has not requested the filling take 12-21 years, and has not specified the filling time.

If the dispute is not resolved by 15 January, an international mediator will be appointed to help resolve it, according to the deal the countries reached in Washington last year.

Ethiopia hopes that the $4.8 billion GERD mega-dam, which has been under construction since 2011, will allow it to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

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