Egypt president, Ethiopia PM agree to start negotiations towards finalizing a deal on GERD filling within 4 months

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Jul 2023

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed on Thursday to start negotiations to finalize an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on the filling and the rules of operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) soon.

 Egypt president, Ethiopia PM
A still photo of a video released by the Egyptian Presidency of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during his meeting with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Cairo on Wednesday.

 

According to a joint statement following their meeting in Cairo on Thursday, President El-Sisi and PM Ahmed stressed a joint commitment to exert all efforts to reach a deal on the GERD dispute within four months.

Ethiopia has stressed its commitment not to harm Egypt and Sudan's share of water during the filling of the fourth filling of GERD, indicating it would be carried out in a manner that safeguards the water needs of both countries, the statement added.

The Ethiopian prime minister arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to participate in Sudan’s Neighbouring Countries Summit to discuss ways to end the ongoing armed conflict in Sudan and also deal with its impact on its neighbours. countries.

President El-Sisi and PM Ahmed held talks on Wednesday evening which covered recent developments in Sudan, ways to resolve the GERD dispute and enhance bilateral relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.

It was the first official meeting between El-Sisi and Ahmed since October 2019 when the two leaders met in Sochi on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit.

The two leaders had informal encounters during the Summit for the New Global Financing Pact in Paris in June of this year and during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh in November of 2022.

Earlier in July, PM Ahmed announced in a speech at the Ethiopian House of Representatives that the fourth filing of GERD would be extended to the end of August or early September - instead of early August as previously planned - to accommodate the needs and concerns of the two downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.

During that speech, Ahmed also announced that Ethiopia was ready to resume talks with Egypt and Sudan to resolve the dispute over the GERD.

Both Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly called for Ethiopia to sign a legally binding agreement on the GERD in order to protect the two downstream countries’ water rights and interests.

In February of this year, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said Cairo has no plans to take the GERD issue once again to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as it did in the previous filings.

In September of 2021, the UNSC issued a presidential statement following a collective Arab action urging Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and to "finalize a mutually acceptable agreement on filling and operating the dam within a reasonable time frame."

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