Saudi Arabia urges Ethiopia to act responsibly to reach GERD deal with Egypt, Sudan

Amr Kandil , Thursday 12 Jan 2023

Saudi Arabia has called on Ethiopia to act responsibly and to demonstrate the political will required to reach a legally-binding agreement with Egypt and Sudan on the rules of filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).



These remarks came in a joint statement following the fifth session of the political follow-up committee between Egypt and Saudi Arabia held at the level of the foreign ministers on Thursday.

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, chaired the meeting.

The Saudi side stressed its full support for Egypt's water security, as an integral part of Arab national security, and for any measures taken by Egypt to protect its national security.

Saudi Arabia called on Ethiopia to refrain from any unilateral measures on the filling and operation of the dam. It also urged Ethiopia to act responsibly to reach a legally-binding deal on GERD in implementation of the presidential statement issued by the UN Security Council in September 2021.

Reaching a binding deal on GERD should come in a way that achieves Ethiopia’s development goals, prevents any related harm to Egypt and Sudan, and enhances cooperation between the peoples of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, the Saudi side added.

The meeting discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual concern, including the crises in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen, as well as the situation in Iraq and Sudan and the Iranian nuclear programme.


Resolving Yemen crisis

Egypt and Saudi Arabia affirmed full support of UN and international efforts to extend the truce to reach a comprehensive political solution to the crisis in Yemen in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, the outcomes of Yemen’s National Dialogue, and the UNSC decision 2216/2015.

Egypt praised Saudi efforts and initiatives to both encourage dialogue between Yemeni parties and endorse the extension of the truce, within the framework of the Saudi initiative of March 2021.

The two sides also expressed deep concern as the “terrorist” Houthi militia continues to target the security of international navigational routes in ways that negatively impact global energy security and supply.

Libyan-Libyan political solution

The Egyptian and Saudi sides affirmed support for a Libyan-Libyan solution to the Libyan crisis under the sponsorship of the United Nations. They  called for foreign interference in Libyan affairs to cease.

They praised the role played by the Libyan House of Representatives and Libya’s Higher Council of State to establish all the frameworks that would allow Libya to head towards a better future. They also praised referring the constitutional document to the two councils for approval.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia stressed the necessity to complete other measures in this regard, including passing electoral laws, adopting executive measures and unifying institutions.

They reiterated support for the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) and called for the exit of all foreign forces and fighters and mercenaries from Libya within a specific timeframe.

They also called for dissolving militias in acordance with the UNSC resolutions and the outcomes of the Paris and Berlin tracks.

Coordinating on Palestinian cause

The Egyptian and Saudi sides affirmed the need to coordinate on the Palestinian cause with regional and international powers concerned with the Palestinian affair.

They stressed that reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause requires the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 4 June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A solution to the cause should be based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant international legitimacy resolutions, Egypt and Saudi Arabia stressed.

Backing Sudan stability

During the meeting, Egypt and Saudi Arabia welcomed the signing in December of Sudan’s political framework agreement by parties of the transitional phase. They both expressed hope that such a step fulfills people’s aspirations and brings about political stability.

Iran’s nuclear programme

The two sides affirmed the necessity that Iran fully respects its commitments, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in a way that prevents the country from acquiring nuclear weapons.

They also affirmed the importance of supporting Arab efforts to urge Iran to abide by the international principles of non-interference in the affairs of  Arab countries and maintain the principle of good neighborliness.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia also highlighted the necessity that Iran spares the region destabilising activities, including supporting armed militias and threatening maritime navigation and international trade routes.

The two sides also condemned attempts to harm the security and integrity of navigation in the Arabian Gulf, Bab Al-Mandab Strait, and the Red Sea, calling for cooperation to confront such attempts.

Supporting Iraq

Egypt and Saudi Arabia affirmed the need to support Iraq so that it becomes once more a pillar of stability in the Arab region.

They also highlighted the importance of backing Iraq in its war against terrorism, rejecting all forms of foreign interference in Iraqi affairs, and preserving the Arab country’s security and borders’ integrity.

Preserving Syrian independence

The two sides agreed on the necessity to support efforts of preserving Syria’s independence and territorial unity.

They also agreed on backing efforts to combat terrorism in Syria, on ensuring the return of refugees and displaced persons, and on reaching a political solution to the ongoing crisis.

The Egyptian and Saudi sides highlighted the necessity to advance the political process in Syria via Syrian-Syrian negotiations under the sponsorship of the UN envoy. The negotiations should establish a framework for a political solution and tackle the deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

The two countries also stressed rejection of threats to launch military offensives that harm Syrian lands and intimidate the Syrian people.

Ending Lebanon’s presidential vacuum

The two sides called on the political forces in Lebanon to assume their responsibility to promote Lebanon's national interest and to expend efforts to end the presidential vacuum and complete the relevant constitutional entitlements.

Fulfilling these obligations, the two sides added, would pave the way to realising  the Lebanese people’s aspirations to political stability. They would also open the door for economic reforms that would allow the country to overcome the many difficulties it has been facing in recent years.

Boosting Arab cooperation

The two sides agreed on boosting bilateral and Arab economic cooperation to face the complicated geopolitical situation and its economic repercussions.  

Such cooperation will enhance Arab countries’ capabilities to face these challenges and to confront their various impacts, the two sides affirmed.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia reiterated rejection of any attempts by regional parties to interfere in the internal affairs of Arab countries, to threaten their stability and to undermine the interests of their peoples.


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