File photo: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo of the Egyptian foreign ministry official Facebook page)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will participate in the ministerial meeting on Tuesday to resume talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The meeting is being held upon the invitation of South Africa, which is the current chair of the African Union, and involves the foreign affairs and water resources ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The meeting aims to revive the talks that had stopped in the end of August.
Earlier reports had suggested that Shoukry would not be able to attend the meeting.
“The foreign minister’s participation in this meeting comes as a confirmation of Egypt’s readiness to engage in effective and serious talks between the three countries,” the ministry stated.
The negotiations aim to “implement the decisions of the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union’s meetings on the summit level,” the ministry said.
It added that the bureau meetings have urged the three countries to negotiate in order to reach a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the dam in a way that ensures joint interests and secures water rights.
The meeting comes less than a week after US President Donald Trump slammed Ethiopia for its obstinacy during negotiations.
In a phone call with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Trump warned that “Egypt is not going to be able to live that way," and that it could end up "blowing up the dam."
“They built a dam which stops water from flowing into the Nile. You can't blame Egypt for being a little bit upset, right?" Trump added.
In response, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office said in a statement that Ethiopia would not "cave into aggressions of any kind."
Egypt has not issued any official statements in response to Trump’s comments.
Earlier today, Egypt President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, where they both stressed the importance of reaching a binding deal over the filling and operation of the dam.