European Union foreign policy chief 'concerned' over GERD crisis

MENA , Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Jul 2021

Sameh Shoukry
File photo: Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry delivered the message to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (Photo: Ministry's facebook page)

High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has expressed concern over the situation regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), state-owned MENA news agency reported.

Borrell made the comment during a meeting Tuesday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss a range of issues in the context of the partnership between the EU and Egypt, a statement by the European External Action Service (EEAS) said.

Borrell and Shoukry discussed the importance of the Nile waters for downstream countries, including Egypt.

The EU high representative stressed that efforts led by the African Union (AU) to solve the GERD dispute have the support of the EU and need to be intensified to reach a solution agreeable to all parties.

He also reiterated the EU’s regret over Ethiopia’s announcement about the start of the second filling of the GERD without reaching a prior agreement with downstream partners on this issue.

The top Egyptian diplomat has been in Brussels since Sunday to hand over a message from President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to the President of the European Council Charles Michel.

In statements to Cairo-based Extra News on Saturday, Shoukry stated that Egypt was seeking to involve the EU in future negotiations over GERD’s filling and operation policies along with the UN and the US under the auspices of the African Union.

Last week the EU said "a jointly agreed clear roadmap is urgently needed for GERD, and called for setting out the timeframe and specific aims of the negotiations for talks to resume as soon as possible. It criticized at the same time Ethiopia for commencing the second filling of GERD without reaching an agreement.

The EU also called upon the three parties to resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union.

Middle East Peace Process and Libya

Borrell also expressed appreciation for Egypt’s important role in the Middle East Peace Process, particularly in reaching a ceasefire ending recent hostilities and towards the joint objective of a two-state solution.

He said that the EU will work closely with Egypt and other international partners to restart the political process to bring about lasting and sustainable solutions. 

Borrell and Shoukry also agreed in their talks on the shared interest of Egypt and the EU in a stable and united Libya and the importance of supporting the Government of National Unity and UN efforts in making progress on the different political, security and economic tracks.

This includes the withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries from the country and the need to respect the roadmap for the organization of the parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 December 2021.

The discussion further centered on cooperation between the EU and Egypt on immigration-related issues, including the shared objectives of preventing irregular immigration and ensuring the protection of asylum seekers and refugees as well as the promotion of legal channels of migration and mobility. 

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