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Egyptian ambassador to US briefs Congressional aides on Cairo's stance in the GERD dispute

The Egyptian ambassador affirmed that no party has the right to take a unilateral action and stressed the need for reaching a binding agreement involving the three countries

MENA , Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Feb 2021
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The Egyptian embassy in the US held a virtual meeting on Monday with Congress aides from the House and Senate to discuss Cairo's stance towards the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations and developments.

The virtual meeting was attended by a large number of congressional aides from the committees of foreign relations, appropriations, military services, and specialists from the Africa subcommittee.

Egyptian Ambassador to the US Moataz Zahran briefed the aides on the negative repercussions of the Ethiopian dam's construction on the water security of Egypt and Sudan and expounded Cairo's relentless efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement on the dam's filling and operation.

During the meeting, Zahran affirmed that no party had the right to take a unilateral action and stressed Egypt's stance on the need to reach a legally binding agreement between the three sides.

“Egypt is not against Ethiopia's right to development, provided that its aspirations do not harm Egypt's interests and water security,” he told the aides.

Last year, the Trump administration brokered talks in Washington DC between the three sides to break the years-long deadlock in negotiations but failed to secure an Ethiopian signature on a draft agreement.

In September, the US suspended aid to Ethiopia, as the Trump administration blamed the deadlock inthe GERD negotiations on Addis Ababa's intransigence .

Ethiopia announced last July the completion of the first filling of the dam and plans to finish the second filling this year despite the absence of a legally binding agreement between the three parties.

Sudan has recently refused to participate in further talks until experts from the African Union, which has brokered several rounds of negotiations between the three sides, are given more opportunity to help bridge differences between the parties.

Egypt has accused Ethiopia of disrupting GERD negotiations and evading commitment to a binding deal.

Last night's meeting was part of a series of virtual sessions organised by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington for congressional aides, with the start of the 117th session, on regional issues of priority to Egypt's national security and to highlight Egypt's achievements in the economic, social, and political fields.

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