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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Egypt and Sudan to head to UN, Security Council over GERD dispute after collapse of Kinshasa talks: FM

The minister said added that international parties must be informed and have an active role in this issue so as to avoid any slipping into tension or negative impacts on region's countries

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Apr 2021
Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP)
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Egypt and Sudan will head to the UN and Security Council to brief them on the developments of the Nile dispute caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said after the failure of the latest round of talks in Kinshasa.

"At this stage, there is full coordination and unity in position with Sudan. We will start heading to the active international organisations to brief them on the developments [in the GERD dispute] and ask them to shoulder their responsibilities," Shoukry told local television channel Extra News on Tuesday.

He added that all international frameworks, including the UN General Assembly and Security Council, must be informed and have an active role in this issue so as to avoid any slipping into tension or negative impacts on the region's countries.

The Egyptian minister called upon all international parties to interact with the issue saying "it does not prejudice only Egypt and Sudan, but also international peace and security."

The Congolese capital of Kinshasa hosted three-day meetings between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, with the aim of re-launching deadlocked negotiations over the dispute. They were however, concluded on Tuesday with no progress due to persisting differences.

Ethiopia has refused to accept proposals by Egypt and Sudan to invite an international committee made up of the UN, the European Union (EU) and the US to help the African Union (AU) in either mediating or facilitating the 10-year-old row.

The AU-sponsored trilateral talks were attended by Congolese President Tshisekedi in a first bid, as Chairman of the AU since February, to resolve the dispute. Last year, South Africa, as chairman of the AU in 2020, mediated trilateral talks to resolve the dispute, but it also ended in vain.

Egypt had described the Kinshasa talks as the “last chance” to revive the GERD talks before an upcoming flood season which Addis Ababa is anticipating for the second filling of its dam.

In his TV statement, Shoukry accused Ethiopia of intransigence after rejecting all "resilient" proposals submitted by Egypt and Sudan to revive the negotiations.

Kinshasa talks, the minister said, confirmed "clearly" the lack of political will on Ethiopia's side and its "continued" stalling of the talks, by which it aims to impose fait accompli on the downstream countries.

He urged the international community to bear its responsibility "to spare slipping into situations that lead to tension and further destabilise East Africa and the Horn of Africa."

Last year, Egypt had sought the international community's intervention in the dispute. It requested the UN Security Council to hold an open session over the GERD dispute after negotiations between the three countries failed to produce an accord, in addition to Ethiopia’s announcement to start the filing of its dam’s reservoir without the downstream countries' approval.

The session was held on 30 June 2020, urging the three countries to reach a consensus and warning against unilateral actions.

The three countries agreed to continue negotiations under the aegis of the AU. However, Ethiopia concluded the first filling of its dam unilaterally a month later.

The recent efforts to resolve the crisis come amid worries over controversial plans by Addis Ababa to complete the second filling in July without reaching an agreement with Cairo and Khartoum first.

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