Arab FMs place GERD as permanent topic on Arab League Council agenda: Shoukry

Ahram Online , MENA , Wednesday 8 Mar 2023

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry - the head of the 159th session of the Arab League Council meeting for Arab foreign ministers - approved a decision to place the issue of the Ethiopian dam as a permanent topic on the Arab League Council agenda.

Arab League foreign ministers meet during an annual meeting in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
Arab League foreign ministers meet during an annual meeting in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. AP


The decision, Shoukry said, underlines Arab commitment to protecting the rights of Egypt and Sudan.

His remarks came on Wednesday during a joint press conference with AL Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit at the end of the 159th session of the AL Council meeting of foreign ministers.

Shoukry said that Egypt has raised the issue of the Ethiopian dam over the years at the AL and consultancy meetings and that it was important to issue an Arab decision backing Egyptian and Sudanese water rights.

The issue of the Ethiopian dam will be on the Arab summit's agenda as it affects 140 million Arab citizens, he said.

He added that the decision is meant to show that there is a joint Arab vision in this regard and that Ethiopia must take this into consideration.

Shoukry added that the decision urged Ethiopia to be more flexible as the issue of the dam is one of Arab national security.

He referred to Ethiopia's relations with Arab countries.

In his speech earlier Wednesday, Shoukry said that GERD was a top priority issue as it had repercussions on Egypt’s national security.

Unfortunately, Ethiopia remains adamant about building ,filling, and operating the dam without reaching any binding legal agreement with Egypt and Sudan, the foreign minister said.

This violates international law and the presidential statement issued by the UN Security Council in September 2021, he added.

Shoukry said that Egypt counts on Arab countries to oblige Ethiopia to relinquish unilateral practices and to make compromises at the negotiating table.

The Arab League has been supporting Egypt and Sudan in their plea to reach a legally-binding agreement with Ethiopia that safeguards the rights of each country in development as well as historical water rights.

Last year, the United Arab Emirates attempted to mediate between the three countries by hosting rounds of technical talks but failed to achieve any breakthrough.

Egypt and Sudan managed in the fall of 2021 to pass a resolution in the security council through Tunisia, the only Arab non-elected member in the UNSC, calling on Ethiopia to cease its second-year filling of the GERD and to begin talks under the auspices of the African Union to reach a legally-binding agreement.


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