Egyptian, Iraqi, Jordanian FMs urge frameworks to protect Arab water interests

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Oct 2020

The ministers have developed a framework to activate cooperation and enhance communication among technical ministries of the three countries to implement developmental projects

Sameh Shoukry

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said he has reviewed the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with his Iraqi and Jordanian counterparts on Tuesday and that the ministers have agreed on the need to develop frameworks that protect water interests of Arab countries.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi and Jordanian counterparts in Cairo, Shoukry said Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has presented a proposal to tackle challenges facing water security in Iraq.

Shoukry stressed there is a “common vision” among Egypt, Iraq and Jordan to preserve the Arab national security and overcome mutual challenges.

He said the three ministers have highlighted the need to ban interference in the Arab region’s affairs and also the importance of boosting trilateral cooperation to achieve the interests of the peoples of the three countries.

The Egyptian minister said the meeting stressed the need to support political settlement efforts for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which would involve direct talks between both sides.

The ministers also discussed the developments in both Syria and Libya, Shoukry said, adding that they agreed on the need to reach political solutions that would help these countries preserve their sovereignty and counter terrorism.

Iraq’s foreign minister Hussein described the meeting as “important,” noting that the ministers have also discussed economic cooperation, including electricity and oil projects, as well as integration in the fields of food and drugs in the future.

The Iraqi minister noted that a trilateral meeting will soon be held in Cairo among ministers in technical fields, including electricity, oil, health, agriculture, and reconstruction, to discuss proposed projects and activate the Memorandums of understanding signed between the three countries.

The meeting has also discussed ways Iraq can benefit from Egyptian and Jordanian companies to reconstruct destroyed Iraqi cities, Hussein said.

This meeting comes less than two months after another meeting between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Iraq's Al-Kadhimi in Amman, where President El-Sisi expressed Egypt's willingness to establish joint development projects with Iraq and Jordan within a strict time frame.

During the press conference, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said his country supports all steps Egypt has taken to preserve its water security, especially concerning the GERD.

Safadi described Egypt’s stance on the GERD as “rational” as it seeks an agreement that preserves the right of the three concerned states, including Sudan, and is based on international law. 

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