Egypt has no plans to take GERD issue again to UN Security Council at this stage: FM Shoukry

Ahram Online , Friday 12 May 2023

In a TV interview on Monday with TV host Ahmed Moussa, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, stated that Egypt has no intention of taking the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at this stage.

This general view shows the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Guba, Ethiopia, on February 19, 2022. AFP


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shared the interview on Wednesday on its official Facebook page.

In the interview, which was conducted during Shoukry’s Monday visit to Chad, Shoukry said that Egypt had no plans to go to the UNSC at this stage as Ethiopia gears up for the fourth filling of the dam despite objections from both Cairo and Khartoum.

He added that the Egyptians must have confidence in their leadership and their institutions to deal with the matter and take all the necessary actions to protect the Egyptian citizen and Egypt’s water security.

Despite the concerns expressed by Egypt and Sudan over the construction of the GERD, Ethiopia has proceeded with the unilateral filling of the dam's 74-billion-cubic-metre reservoir over the past three years and is preparing to commence the fourth phase of filling in July.

Furthermore, Ethiopia began generating electricity from the dam in 2022 without reaching a comprehensive agreement with either of the downstream countries.

Egypt has already resorted to the UN Security Council in the past three years, as Ethiopia has been filling the dam since 2020.

In June 2020, Egypt began its efforts to oppose the dam by sending a letter to the UNSC condemning the first filing of GERD and calling for resuming the tripartite negotiations.

In 2021, Egypt and Sudan brought the issue of GERD before the UNSC in a meeting held in July of that year.  

In the meeting, Tunisia, the only Arab non-permanent member of the Council, presented a draft resolution that called for Ethiopia to resume negotiations in good faith and set a six-month timeline for reaching an agreement under the auspices of the African Union (AU).

In September of the same year, the UNSC issued a presidential statement 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".

In February 2022, Egypt and Sudan also headed to the UNSC for the third time in a row to protest the third filling without succeeding in bringing about any substantial change, whether by halting the filling process or reviving negotiations.

“Egypt depended throughout its history on the river Nile, and 65 percent of Egyptians work in the agricultural sector. Therefore, we shall not allow the Egyptian people to suffer harm,” said Shoukry in the TV interview.

Moussa then asked the foreign minister whether the African Union had made any progress in the talks with Ethiopia and whether these talks had failed to make a breakthrough.

Shoukry responded that the AU had undoubtedly neither succeeded in making Addis Ababa change its position nor had it recourse to similar experiences of transboundary rivers, such as the Senegal River and other similar rivers in Europe.

Egypt and Sudan have been negotiating with Ethiopia for over a decade to reach a legally binding and comprehensive agreement regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction, which Addis Ababa began building on the Blue Nile in 2011.

The African Union has been engaged in the talks since the summer of 2020 before the talks halted in April 2021.

“The Ethiopian government's stubbornness in enforcing the concept of sovereignty over a shared, transboundary resource has made it impossible to reach a consensus under the current circumstances,” Shoukry revealed.

In April, Egypt accused Ethiopia of attempting to "buy time" to continue filling GERD unilaterally without reaching a deal and stressed that Addis Ababa’s constant claim that Egypt is “politicizing” the GERD issue was nothing short of  an attempt to "evade legal responsibility.”

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