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Wednesday, 21 April 2021

GERD agreement shall ensure no harm caused to downstream countries: Egypt's Sisi

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stresses Cairo's steadfast position towards the inevitability of reaching a legally binding agreement

Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Mar 2021
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan Dr. Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan Dr. Mariam al-Saddiq al-Mahdi, in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sameh Shoukry and the Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo Mohamed Elias.
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President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed Egypt's "steadfast position toward the inevitability of reaching a legally binding agreement” on the rules of filling and operating the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

During a meeting with Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Saddiq Al-Mahdi in Cairo on Tuesday, the president said that the agreement shall guarantee that no harm is caused to the two downstream countries: Egypt and Sudan, and that their water rights are preserved.

According to a statement released by Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady following the meeting, both officials agreed on intensifying - in the upcoming period - mutual coordination between Egypt and Sudan on the GERD issue.

Negotiations over the long-standing dam issue have not yet reached an agreement on the outstanding points related to the filling and operating of the dam.

There is an endeavor still in the making to revive the AU-sponsored talks, spearheaded by a Sudanese proposal, backed by Egypt, to form an international quartet committee comprising the US, the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), and the African Union (AU) to mediate the stalled negotiations.

The efforts to resolve the crisis come amid worries over controversial plans by Addis Ababa completing the second filling in July without reaching an agreement with Cairo and Khartoum first.

Ethiopia says that the near complete project on the Blue Nile, which it hopes will make it Africa’s largest power exporter, is key to its development efforts, a matter that neither Egypt nor Sudan oppose.

Egypt, however, fears the project will significantly cut its crucial water supplies from the River Nile, while Sudan has concerns on how the reservoir will be managed.

Egyptian-Sudanese cooperation

El-Sisi assured, during the meeting, Egypt's support to all efforts aiming to enhance peace and stability in Sudan based on the country's "constant principle that the stability and peace of Sudan is an integral part of Egypt's."

El-Sisi also assured Egypt's strategic approach in backing all aspects of the bilateral relations between both countries with the aim of consolidating the "partnership and the eternal ties between the people of the Nile Valley."

The president asserted Cairo's interest in strengthening cooperation with Khartoum, especially in fields of power linkage, railway interconnection and trade exchange, the statement added.

Spokesman Rady added that El-Sisi expressed the state's willingness to continue to transfer its experience in economic reform, training Sudanese cadres and helping face any challenges that may arise in this regard.

The Sudanese minister expressed Khartoum's aspiration in developing mutual efforts to improve joint cooperation between the two countries, praising Egypt’s "sincere support to preserve the safety and stability of Sudan in light of its significant historic turning point."

She said that Egyptian support helped Sudan to override the difficulties of this stage. She continued to express an aspiration to benefit from the Egyptian experience in the field of economic reform that has achieved great success. 

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