Sisi asks for 'serious' role by international community to help solve GERD dispute

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Sep 2021

The Egyptian president reiterated the need to reach a legally binding deal on the filing and operation of the GERD

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi speaks during a joint press conference and his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades in Cairo at Al-Ittihadiya Presidential Palace on Saturday, 4 September 2021 (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian presidency)

Egypt President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has asked the international community to play a serious role in helping to solve the long-running dispute caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The Egyptian president reiterated the need to reach a legally binding deal on the filling and operation of the GERD that Ethiopia has been building on the Blue Nile since 2011.

El-Sisi's remarks came during a press conference in Cairo on Saturday with Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades after one-on-one discussions in which he briefed the Cypriot president on the Egyptian efforts to solve the decade-long issue and resume the stalled negotiations.

The United Nation Security Council (UNSC) held two sessions on the GERD in June 2020 and July 2021 in an attempt to settle the dispute over the dam, but has not yet succeeded in achieving any progress.

The UNSC's latest session were held on the heels of the faltering of the African Union-brokered negotiations in April.

Ethiopia, an upstream country, has pinned hopes of development and power generation on the multi-billion dollar hydropower project, while Egypt, a downstream country, fears an impact on its water supply, and Sudan, the other downstream country, is concerned about regulating flows to its own dams, which are located near to the GERD.

The two downstream countries have been negotiating with Ethiopia for ten years to reach a comprehensive and legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD, but to no avail as the upstream country seeks mere guidelines that can be modified any time at its discretion.

Ethiopia has completed the first and second filling of its controversial dam in 2020 and 2021 despite lack of agreement with Cairo and Khartoum.

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