Egypt seeks to reach peaceful solution to GERD crisis through negotiations: FM

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Jul 2021

Shoukry said he highlighted the need to enhance negotiations under the auspices of the African Union within a new framework that facilitates reaching an agreement among the three states

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry holds talks with Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Nicolas de Rivière. Egyptian foreign ministry

Egypt seeks to resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute peacefully through negotiations that serve the interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and defuse any tension or escalation, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Tuesday.

The top diplomat’s remarks in New York come ahead of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session that will be held on Thursday at the request of Egypt and Sudan over the GERD dispute.

Shoukry told Extra News TV channel that he held several intensive meetings in preparation for the planned UNSC session, in which he highlighted the Egyptian goal to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.

Shoukry said he also stressed the need to enhance negotiations under the auspices of the African Union within a new framework that facilitates reaching an agreement among the three concerned countries.

Ethiopia on Monday notified Egypt and Sudan it began the second stage of filling the GERD's reservoir despite the lack of a legally binding agreement between the three African nations.

Ethiopia’s step brushes aside Egyptian and Sudanese demands of the need that a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam is reached before the second filling.

Shoukry affirmed that Egypt and Sudan have announced rejection of this unilateral act, which he said makes reaching an agreement more complicated.

Holding a UNSC session for a second time in two years on GERD affirms the importance the international community attaches to the issue and its probable effect on the stability and security of the region, he said.

The top Egyptian diplomat said the all the Egyptian state institutions attaches utmost importance and priority to the GERD issue due to its direct connection with the national security and the interests of its people.

Shoukry affirmed that the GERD issue is “existential” and that all the state authorities and institutions are involved and have the capabilities and determination to defend the Egyptian water interests and people’s resources.

The minister said these institutions will “spare no effort to achieve the interests of the Egyptian citizen at the individual level”.

Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi are currently in New York preparing for the UNSC session.

The Egyptian foreign minister held intensive talks in New York ahead of the UNSC session to explain Egypt’s stance on the GERD dispute.

On Tuesday, he met with the permanent representatives of Russia, China, Britain, the US, and France, the five permanent member states of the UNSC.

In remarks to Al-Arabiya TV, Shoukry said both Egypt and Sudan are capable of defending their water interests, reiterating that “all options are open”.

He said the GERD negotiations cannot run indefinitely and that Egypt resorted to the Security Council in pursuit of reaching a GERD agreement.

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