Trump, Egypt's Sisi discuss GERD deal by phone

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Mar 2020

Trump expressed his appreciation that Egypt had signed the GERD deal in Washington last week, the Egyptian readout said

File photo: Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and US counterpart president Donald Trump (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian presidency spokesman official Facebook page)

US President Donald Trump called Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday in order to discuss the latest developments concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Egyptian presidency said.

Trump expressed his appreciation that Egypt had signed the GERD deal in Washington last week after several rounds of talks sponsored by the US Treasury and the World Bank.

According to the statement, Trump said that Egypt has confirmed its good intentions and honest political will in signing the deal, which is considered comprehensive, fair and balanced.

The US president added that his administration will continue exerting its efforts and coordinating with Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on this vital file until the signing of the GERD deal.

El-Sisi expressed his appreciation for the role of the US administration in sponsoring the talks, stressing that Egypt is prioritising the issue because it is a matter of huge importance to the Egyptian people's interests and their future.  

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan were expected to sign a final deal on the mega-dam during the two-day talks that concluded on Friday, but Ethiopia skipped the meetings citing incomplete domestic discussions.

Egypt initialed the deal and called on Ethiopia and Sudan to do the same.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that Washington was disappointed after Ethiopia skipped last week's round.

"We have been trying to bring the parties together. They have made enormous progress. We were incredibly disappointed that Ethiopia didn't show up for the last meeting," Mnuchin told a hearing of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.

"It is an important issue for the entire region. It is obviously a grave concern, there are safety concerns, there are water concerns," he added

Egypt on Sunday accused Addis Ababa of deliberately not attending the last round of talks in Washington last week to hinder the path of negotiations.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Tuesday that Ethiopia's ownership of its GERD does not give it the right to violate legal accords signed willingly.

Ethiopia hopes the $4 billion-dam will make it a regional energy hub, but Cairo fears the project will significantly diminish its water supply.

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