President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said the current Egyptian and Sudanese move in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in terms of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue aims to enhance the African path.
The UNSC is scheduled to hold a session over the GERD dispute on Thursday. This comes only a few days after Ethiopia informed Egypt and Sudan that it started the second phase of filling the dam despite the lack of an agreement among the three states, a step condemned by the two downstream countries.
In a phone call with Félix Tshisekedi, the African Union chairman and president of DR Congo, El-Sisi affirmed that the move also aims to highlight the African Union’s (AU) leadership over the GERD negotiation track, an Egyptian presidential statement read.
The move also seeks to enable the AU, in cooperation with the participating countries and parties, to carry out an effective role in conducting discussions on the issue and assisting the three countries in reaching a legally-binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam within a clear and fixed timeframe, El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi said Egypt and Sudan’s request for the UNSC to hold a session on GERD came as a result of Ethiopia’s intransigence and attempts to impose a fait accompli, a matter that stalled the ongoing AU-sponsored talks.
The Egyptian president hailed the importance the DR Congo attaches to the GERD issue, as the current chair of the AU, and the efforts Tshisekedi made to sponsor the negotiations among the three countries with the aim of reaching an agreement that meets the three countries’ mutual interests and preserves their water rights.
Tshisekedi, during the phone call, hailed Egypt’s efforts to ensure the success of the negotiations and reach a solution to the GERD issue, the statement read.
He affirmed the importance of continuing the intensified coordination between Egypt and DR Congo during the coming period to work on reaching a fair and balanced agreement on this vital issue.
The Congolese president said the Egyptian and Sudanese move in the UNSC would support the endeavor to reach African solutions to African problems.
He also stressed the need for concerted efforts to provide the required means to enhance the African path to enable the three countries to reach an agreement and avoid instability in the region.
As Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi arrived in New York to prepare for the UNSC meeting, the Ethiopian water ministry sent letters to the two countries notifying them about the start of the GERD filling for the second year in a row.
Egypt and Sudan have condemned the move by Ethiopia, with Shoukry warning that “all options are open”.
Shoukry has held intensive talks with foreign officials in New York ahead of the UNSC session to explain Egypt’s stance on the GERD dispute.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian FM met with the representatives of Russia, China, Britain, the US, and France, the five permanent member states of the UNSC.
Ethiopia rejects the intervention of the UNSC and the Arab League in the GERD issue, and says it is sticking to the African Union-sponsored talks.
The African Union talks have failed to achieve any progress in the GERD issue, with Egypt and Sudan blaming the failure on Ethiopia's intransigence and intention to impose a fait accompli on the two downstream states.