Egypt wants to continue GERD negotiations to reach fair agreement, Abdel-Aty tells Congolese minister

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Nov 2020

During a meeting with the Congolese environment minister, Abdel-Aty reviewed preparations for the inauguration of the Flood Forecasting Centre in Kinshasa in early 2021

Congo and Egypt
Egypt's Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty during a meeting with DR Congo's Environment Minister Claude Nyamugabo in Cairo on Thursday, November 19 2020. (photo courtesy of the Egyptian irrigation ministry)

In a meeting with DR Congo's Environment Minister in Cairo on Thursday, Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Aty expressed Egypt’s desire to continue negotiations with Ethiopia on the filling and operating of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Abdel-Aty said that Egypt is committed to its stance regarding preserving its riparian rights while achieving all the negotiating parties' interests by reaching a fair and legally binding agreement, according to a statement issued by the irrigation ministry following the meeting.

Congolese Environment Minister Claude Nyamugabo is in Egypt for a week-long visit to discuss bilateral relations with Egyptian officials as well as cooperation in the field of water resources.

Abdel-Aty and Nyamugabo reviewed the recommendations issued by an Egyptian-Congolese ministerial technical consultative committee with regards to reinforcing cooperation projects between the two countries in the field of water resources.

They also discussed the preparations for the inauguration of the Flood Forecasting Centre in the Congolese capital Kinshasa in early 2021, which is being carried out in cooperation with Egypt.

According to the statement, the project will serve as a centre for studying climate change with the target of protecting Congolese citizens from sudden climate disasters.

The Egyptian minister told his Congolese counterpart that Egypt always seeks to support and cooperate with the Nile Basin countries to help them achieve sustainable development goals.

Abdel-Aty also said that he expects more joint projects to be carried out soon, especially in building small dams to produce hydroelectric energy, as well as in constructing groundwater wells to provide deprived areas in the Congo with drinking water, the statement added.

Egypt and Sudan have been in talks with Ethiopia for years now to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the massive hydropower dam Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile.

Earlier this month, revived talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia reached a stalemate when the three countries failed to agree on the framework under which the renewed talks would be carried out.

The last talks to be held, prior to this latest attempt at negotiations, were in August, when African Union-mediated talks broke down after Ethiopia proposed a package of non-binding guidelines for the filling and operation of the mega-dam, which Egypt and Sudan rejected.

The three sides will hold a new round of negotiations via video conference on Thursday to discuss guidelines to restart negotiations.

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