Russia may help solve the GERD problem: Egypt's foreign minister

Zeinab El-Gundy , Monday 21 Oct 2019

Egypt has suggested having an international mediator in the GERD talks.

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP)

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Soukry told Russian Sputnik news agency that Russia may help solve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) problem after the failure of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to reach an agreement on the dam's filling and operation.

"Russia is a big and permanent member of the Security Council. It is a state that always supports and emphasises the principles of international legitimacy and the need to respect international law," Shoukry told Sputnik in an interview in Cairo on the occasion of the Africa-Russia summit which will be held in the Russian resort city of Sochi on 23-24 October.

"The countries of the world can contribute to resolving this issue which affects 105 million Egyptians, 40 million Sudanese and 100 million Ethiopians," Shoukry added.

Egypt has had long-time concerns on the management and filling operation of the dam, as it would negatively affect the quantities of water flowing to downstream countries especially Egypt which depends mainly on the River Nile as its main source of water.

Ethiopia has not maintained its insistence that the dam will not affect Sudan or Egypt's water needs.

"Russia can strengthen the need for the parties to adhere to these principles and rules, and has close relations with Egypt and Ethiopia, and has the ability to influence positively through its status as a superpower and permanent member of the Security Council, as well as through its close bilateral relations with Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia," he said.

Since January 2018, Egypt has proposed the participation of a fourth party like the World Bank as a technical party with an impartial view to decide on the differences in the work of the Tripartite National Committee but Ethiopia rejected Egypt's request.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Moscow on Thursday to continue discussions on the GERD.

The Russia-Africa summit and business forum is co-chaired by El-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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