File photo: Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: AP)
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday that the European Union may take measures that affirm its dissatisfaction with Ethiopia’s practices and unilateral moves with regards to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue.
Shoukry made the remarks after he met on Monday with EU officials in Brussels, as well as President of the European Council Charles Michel, Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and other diplomats.
Shoukry’s visit comes only few days after the UN Security Council held a meeting to discuss the GERD issue.
The UNSC session was requested by Egypt and Sudan, both of whom seek a binding agreement with Ethiopia over the filling and operation of the mega dam, a step Ethiopia has resisted.
The dispute over the dam escalated after Ethiopia announced early in July that it was commencing with the second stage of filling the dam’s reservoir, despite the two downstream countries’ rejection of the step without a binding agreement.
In a phone call to Sada El-Balad, Shoukry said he has urged the EU to understand the existential nature of the GERD issue for Egypt and to work on convincing the Ethiopian side of the necessity to show flexibility.
The top Egyptian diplomat said the international community should live up to its responsibilities and send clear messages to the Ethiopian side of the necessity of changing its current approach.
Shoukry said that an EU statement last week criticising Ethiopia for commencing the second filling of the GERD unilaterally displayed “much appreciation” for the Egyptian-Sudanese stance.
The European Union, as an observer to the GERD negotiations, is ready to intensify cooperation to help resolve the current stalemate, Shoukry said.
The minister also noted that the European Council has the desire to use its available capabilities to support the negotiation path.
There is a willingness for the EU’s role in the GERD talks to be transformed from an observer to a mediator, but this will require a decision by the African Union in consultation with the concerned parties, Shoukry noted.
“It was a good opportunity, during the meeting with the ministers and the meetings with EU commissioners, to emphasise the justice of the Egyptian stance and the interest of every Egyptian citizen in this issue,” Shoukry said.
The minister also noted that he stressed during the meetings that the GERD issue is a central one that must be resolved in order to avoid any kind of escalation or tension.
When asked about the possible future measures that can be taken by Egypt, Shoukry said the country would take the “proper measures at the proper time.”
The FM stressed that all Egyptian institutions coordinate and take appropriate measures at the proper time, affirming that Egypt’s policies are always characterised by responsibility and balance.
Shoukry said the state is keen to achieve stability and security and defend the interests of the Egyptian people.