Egypt's FM says concluding GERD talks without agreement is 'regrettable'

Ahram Online , Monday 13 Jul 2020

Egypt doesn’t wish to resort once more to the United Nations Security Council, Sameh Shoukry says

File photo: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: AP)

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday concluding the African Union-brokered talks between Cairo, Addis Ababa and Khartoum over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) without agreement was "a regrettable matter.”

Shoukry added that Egypt doesn’t wish to resort once more to the United Nations Security Council.

The foreign minister's comment came after Egypt announced on Monday night that the final day of AU-brokered talks over GERD saw the persistence of differences on fundamental issues regarding the rules of filling and operation of the dam Ethiopia has been building on the Blue Nile since 2011.

In a phone interview with ON E satellite channel on Monday, Shoukry said Egypt had engaged in AU-brokered talks in good faith in an attempt to reach a fair and balanced agreement that guarantees the three parties' interests.

"Cairo has shown much flexibility and understanding over GERD issues and Ethiopian needs, but once again the round ends with no agreement," he added.

"We were looking forward to a change in some of Ethiopia's positions, but they remained the same and we didn't reach consensus," Shoukry noted.

He stressed that Egypt expressed its will to reach consensus when it initialled the draft agreement crafted by Washington during the US-brokered talks in February, adding "but the partners didn’t show the same will."

Speaking on the United Nations in another TV comment with DMC channel, Shoukry said "We don't wish to return once again to the Untitled Nations Security Council, but if something threatens regional and international peace, the responsibility falls on the Security Council to take action to prevent this."

The previous round of negotiations between the three countries, held from 9 to 17 June, failed to produce an accord due to Ethiopia's refusal to enter into a legally binding agreement and its recurrent announcement that it will begin filling the dam in July with or without the approval of the two downstream countries.

In response, Egypt appealed to the UN Security Council to intervene to resolve the stalemate to preserve international peace and stability.

The Security Council held an open session on the dam in late June, urging the three countries to avoid adopting any unilateral actions and to conduct talks based on mutual understanding. 

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