The US encourages GERD parties to reach agreement, appreciates Egypt's role in Gaza ceasefire: State Dept spox

Ahram Online , Friday 25 Jun 2021

Warberg said that the US supports Egypt's rights in the Nile in his remarks on DMC TV channel, affirming that 'the US will not leave 100 million Egyptians without water'

FILE PHOTO: The State Department Building is pictured in Washington, U.S. REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: The State Department Building is pictured in Washington, U.S. REUTERS

The United States urges the three parties involved in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute to reach a negotiated settlement, Samuel Warberg, a regional spokesperson for the US State Department, said on Thursday.

The US supports Egypt's rights in the Nile, Warberg said in his remarks to Masaa DMC on the DMC TV channel, affirming that “the US will not leave 100 million Egyptians without water. This is impossible.”

Rounds of African Union-sponsored talks to reach a consensus among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the GERD issue have been deadlocked, with Egypt and Sudan blaming the failure on Ethiopia’s intransigence.

Over the past months, Egypt and Ethiopia have exchanged tough remarks over their stances on GERD.

This comes especially as Ethiopia plans to complete the massive dam filling next month, despite Egypt and Sudan warning of potential risks in case the dam is filled before a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam is reached.

Warberg said the US encourages Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to return to the negotiating table with the African Union.

“The US supports the Egyptian right in terms of the water and the importance of the Nile water. There is no question about the US stance on the importance of the Nile water to the Egyptian people,” Warberg said.

The regional spokesperson said the US can play a significant and vital role in the GERD issue, noting that this requires the three countries to return to the negotiations table.

He said the US will conduct discussions and consultations with the three countries in this regard.

“I do not want to make assumptions or predict any decision from the White House or the Department of State on any other procedures [on GERD]. I can, however, affirm that the US will continue to focus on this very important topic,” Warberg added.

The regional spokesperson voiced appreciation of the Egyptian efforts to reach a ceasefire between the Israeli and Palestinian sides last month after more than 10 days of violence in the Gaza Strip.

He affirmed that Egypt has played a “crucial and decisive role on this issue.”

Warberg highlighted the US stance, which considers the two-state solution “the only way” to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

He affirmed the need to maintain a ceasefire between the two sides in this regard, noting that the US will work on resuming negotiations with Palestinians.

“Now, the next step, the US will resume the dialogue with the Palestinians, which has been stopped by the previous [US] administration,” Warberg said.

“This administration believes that it is not possible for the US to play an actual and positive role without dialogue with the two sides.”

Warberg said the US will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and re-open the US consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinians.

In April, the Biden administration decided to restore economic, developmental, and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians, including funding for the UNRWA that supports Palestinian refugees.

The Biden administration's decision reverses a 2018 move by then-president Donald Trump to halt funding to the UNRWA for rejecting his so-called "Deal of the Century"

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