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Sisi affirms Egypt is committed to 'diplomatic path' in resolving GERD crisis

Menna Alaa El-Din , Wednesday 24 Jun 2020
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during a meeting with PM Madbouly, ministers on Wednesday, 24-June2020 (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian presidency spokesman official Facebook page)
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Views: 5361

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has reiterated Egypt’s commitment to diplomatically resolving the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute with Ethiopia, which recently landed at the UN Security Council.

According to a statement by the presidency, El-Sisi ordered the government to continue pursuing diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis, especially through intensifying consultations with Sudan and Security Council member states.

The president made the statements during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, irrigation and water resources, justice, interior, and the chief of general intelligence.

The statement reiterated Egypt’s stance that the GERD issue should be resolved through a comprehensive agreement between the concerned parties on the filling and operation of the dam, as well as its rejection of any unilateral action that affects Cairo’s rights to the Nile waters.

Wednesday’s meeting comes a few days after Ethiopia submitted a 78-page letter to the UN Security Council. The letter was in response to Cairo filing a complaint with the Security Council after Addis Ababa said it would start filling the dam’s reservoir next month regardless of whether a deal is reached.

The latest round of talks -- brokered by Sudan -- over the giant $4.8 billion hydropower project collapsed earlier this month after Ethiopia refused to enter into a binding agreement on how the dam should be operated.

During Wednesday’s meeting, El-Sisi was also briefed on developments in the Libyan crisis, and he ordered the government to continue working to restore security and stability in Libya and to ensure Egypt’s national security is maintained along its western border.

The president stressed Egypt’s stance that the crisis should be contained by maintaining a ceasefire, establishing the requisite safeguards over the matter, and through the dismantling of militias and the exit of mercenaries from the conflict to allow for a comprehensive political resolution.

The meeting came hours after the head of the eastern Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh said that the Libyan people will request Egyptian military intervention if armed militias infiltrate the strategic city of Sirte.

Earlier this week, the Egyptian president said that Cairo has a legitimate right to intervene in the war-torn neighboring country to restore security and stability after receiving "direct threats" from "terrorist militias," stressing that Egypt has long been reluctant to make such a move.

El-Sisi said that any intervention in Libya by Egyptian forces “would be led by the Libyan tribes,” stressing that the Libyan frontline of Sirte and Al-Jufra is “a red line” for Egyptian national security.

An urgent meeting was held by the Arab League on Tuesday following El-Sisi’s warning, where the regional organisation stressed on the importance of a comprehensive political solution in Libya.

Egypt succeeded during the emergency meeting of foreign ministers in rallying 18 Arab countries who welcomed the Cairo Declaration on Libya.

Earlier this month, President El-Sisi, commander of the LNA Khalifa Haftar, and the speaker of the Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh announced a peace initiative, dubbed the Cairo Declaration, to end the civil war in Libya through a ceasefire and an elected leadership council.

The Cairo plan comes after the collapse of an offensive launched by Haftar in April 2019 to capture the Libyan capital, further extending the rival GNA’s control over most of northwestern Libya.

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