Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry urged in a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) the international community to persuade Ethiopia against taking any unilateral action on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) before it reaches a legally binding deal with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
Ethiopia plans to move ahead with the second filling of the dam in July despite the objections of Egypt and Sudan over the move in the absence of a legally binding deal.
Rounds of African Union-sponsored negotiations to reach an agreement have failed, including the latest round in DR Congo’s capital of Kinshasa earlier in April. The talks, held under the auspices of the AU chair for 2021, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, were dubbed by Egypt as the “last chance.”
In a letter to the president of the UNSC this week, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Shoukry called on the international community to impress upon Ethiopia the importance of maintaining a spirit of good faith during negotiations to conclude an agreement on GERD within the coming months.
Shoukry affirmed the need for Ethiopia to refrain from unilaterally implementing the second phase of the filling this summer before an agreement is concluded.
Shoukry warned that the failure to reach an agreement will harm the water interests and security of Egypt and Sudan and increase tensions throughout East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
He added that the absence of a legally binding agreement will make Ethiopia “that has demonstrated a lack of political will to act as a responsible stakeholder and co-riparian” in control of the “survival and livelihood” of the Egyptian people.
Shoukry warned that the failure to reach a deal will also “constitute a serious threat to international peace and security.”
The Egyptian foreign minister expressed hope that the international community’s engagement will contribute to reaching a fair and balanced agreement on GERD.
He said the desired agreement should “unlock the potential for cooperation between the three countries” and “chart a new course for the entire Nile Basin and East Africa.”
In the letter conveyed by the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN, Shoukry briefed the Security Council on the latest developments in the years-long GERD dispute.
In May 2020, Egypt sent a letter to the Security Council to inform it about the latest developments in the diplomatic GERD crisis. A month later, Egypt submitted another letter urging the Security Council to intervene.
Below is Shoukry’s letter to the UNSC, dated 13 April 2021: