Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi meets Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in Cairo (Photo Courtesy of Egyptian Presidency)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday that failing to resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis would negatively impact the security and stability of the region.
According to an official statement, the Egyptian presidency said El-Sisi received Lavrov in Cairo, where they exchanged viewpoints on developments related to the GERD conflict.
El-Sisi affirmed that the water issue is a matter of national security for the country.
He stressed the necessity of reaching a comprehensive and legally binding deal between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the filling and operations of the dam.
Lavrov affirmed Russia’s unwavering refusal of the compromising of Egypt’s water rights, and a rejection of unilateral measures in this regard.
He expressed appreciation for the sincere and relentless efforts by Egypt to resolve the crisis, and said that he hopes an agreement that achieves the interests of all through negotiations is reached as soon as possible.
Monday’s meeting also saw discussions on the Libyan crisis and issues of bilateral interest, including cooperation between Egypt and Russia on the security and military level.
El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s firm strategic stance on restoring security and stability in conflict-hit countries in the region, and the rebuilding of their national institutions to open the door for development.
On Libya, El-Sisi affirmed the necessity of clearing the country from mercenaries and undermining illegitimate foreign interference in Libyan domestic affairs to allow for holding national elections in December.
Lavrov praised Egypt’s efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, adding that this has consolidated Egypt’s role as a central pillar for security and stability in the region.
The focus on the GERD during Lavrov’s visit to Cairo, which is part of his Middle East tour, comes after Egypt and Sudan rejected on Saturday a proposal by Ethiopia for data exchange on its disputed dam, ahead of its planned second filling in July.
Cairo and Khartoum’s rejection of the offer by Addis Ababa comes as tensions continue to linger after the latest round of Kinshasa talks, which was held between the three countries in an attempt to re-launch deadlocked negotiations over the dam and had failed to reach an agreement.
Ethiopia’s rejection of several proposals by Egypt and Sudan on the negotiations' mechanism has led to a collapse of meetings and failure to reach an agreement over relaunching the talks.
Addis Ababa plans to move forward with the second filling of the dam — set to take place in July — despite the objections of Egypt and Sudan over the execution of such a move in the absence of a legally binding deal.
El-Sisi called on Ethiopia last week not to compromise Cairo’s share of Nile water, saying “all options are possible,” while stressing that “cooperation is better than fighting.”