Egypt's FM Shoukry tackles GERD, regional developments with EU high representative of foreign affairs

Ahram Online , Thursday 11 Mar 2021

Shoukry and Borrell also exchanged views on Libya, the Palestinian cause, and the peace process in the Middle East

Sameh Shoukry

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed over the phone the latest developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) file on Wednesday with Josep Borrell, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, the Egyptian foreign ministry stated.

Shoukry and Borrell tackled the means to boost joint cooperation in different sectors, the latest GERD developments, and other regional updates, the foreign ministry’s statement read.

Shoukry presented Egypt's position on the need to reach a just, balanced, and legally binding agreement on filling and operating the GERD by means of serious, effective negotiations bringing together the three concerned countries, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The Egyptian foreign minister discussed the proposal submitted by Sudan, and supported by Egypt, which calls for the development of a negotiating mechanism through forming an international quartet led by the Democratic Republic of Congo in its capacity as the current chair of the African Union and that includes the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States as members.

The international quartet should reach a negotiable solution on the GERD, he said, underlining the importance of European involvement in this regard and the role the EU can play in future negotiations.

It is crucial, Shoukry stressed, that these efforts culminate in an agreement that fulfils the interests of the three countries, adding that an accord should be reached before the start of the next flooding season as Ethiopia plans to start the second stage of filling.

An Ethiopian unilateral move in this regard will bear negative repercussions on the downstream countries of Egypt and Sudan, Shoukry said.

Ethiopia officially rejected the Sudanese proposal last week claiming that inviting other parties as mediators in the decade-long GERD negotiations is "demeaning" to African Union efforts, the current mediator of the talks.

Shoukry and Borrell exchanged views on other regional files, focusing on developments in Libya, the Palestinian cause, and efforts to push forward the peace process in the Middle East.

The Egyptian foreign minister is currently in Paris to attend a quartet meeting with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Jordan to discuss the latest efforts to revive the peace process in the Middle East.

The two officials also discussed development efforts in infrastructure, transportation, artificial intelligence, and digitisation projects. 

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