Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in DR Congo (Photo Courtesy of MOFA)
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed on Tuesday appreciation for strenuous efforts exerted by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi to resolve a dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Shoukry arrived in DRC’s Kinshasa as part of his dam-focused African tour, where he met with Tshisekedi and delivered him a letter from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on GERD, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The letter addressed the developments in the dam crisis, including Cairo’s position, the ministry added.
Shoukry affirmed during the meeting that Egypt’s keenness on continued consultation and coordination with DRC, which currently chairs the African Union, over various issues at stake in Africa.
He expressed appreciation for Tshisekedi over the latest hosting in Kinshasa of talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on 4-5 April.
The Kinshasa-hosted talks, which were held between the three countries earlier this month in an attempt to restart deadlocked negotiations over the dam, had failed to reach an agreement.
Ethiopia’s rejection of several proposals by Egypt and Sudan on the negotiations' mechanism, which includes an international quartet mediation, has led to a collapse of meetings and a failure to reach an agreement over re-launching the talks.
Egypt has displayed good will to reach a serious mechanism for discussions to result in a legally binding deal on the filling and operation of GERD to secure the interests of the concerned parties and maintain the security and stability of the region, he said.
DRC was Shoukry’s fourth stop of his six-nation African tour this week, which included Kenya, Comoros, South Africa, Senegal, and Tunisia.
Egypt has turned to diplomacy amid heightened tensions after the collapse of the latest round of talks, briefing regional and international counterparts on stances and developments on the latest deadlock in negotiations.
Cairo said it has sent letters to the UN secretary general, UN Security Council chief and the president of the UN general assembly, explaining all the latest developments and stages of negotiations.
The diplomatic efforts come as Ethiopia remains unwavering on 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.
The second filling aims at collecting around 18.4 bcm of Blue Nile water, up from the 4.9 bcm secured during the first filling last year.
Egypt's El-Sisi has repeatedly called on Ethiopia not to compromise Cairo’s share of Nile water, saying “all options are possible,” while stressing that “cooperation is better than fighting.”