Ethiopia's statements on GERD 'prevaricating and lacks credibility,' says Egypt's FM Shoukry

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has described recent comments made by Addis Ababa regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations as “prevaricating and lacks credibility.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry . REUTERS

"The Ethiopian fallacies persist," Shoukry told Sada El-Balad TV channel on Sunday.

Shoukry was responding to remarks by a member of the Ethiopian GERD negotiating team, who said that his country would not sign an agreement on the dam – which has been a source of tension between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – unless “its national interest and future development with regards to utilising its water resources are guaranteed.”

In an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), Ethiopian negotiator Ibrahim Idris said on Friday that his country "will not sign any agreement which potentially affects its future development."

In response, Shoukry said that the negotiations have so far only covered the filling and operation of the dam, and reaching an agreement on this matter would in no way impede Ethiopia’s future development.

"This rhetoric is prevaricating and lacks credibility," the FM said.

Egypt and Sudan have said that they do not oppose Ethiopia’s development goals, but want a legally binding agreement that regulates the rules for filling and operating the dam, as Egypt fears that its water supply will be diminished and Sudan is concerned about regulating flows to its own dams.

Ethiopia has repeatedly refused to sign such a deal, seeking mere guidelines that can be modified at any time at its discretion.

During the most recent rounds of talks, Addis Ababa has been attempting to impose agreements on the Nile waters into the agenda of the GERD negotiations, a matter both Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly and categorically rejected.

Egypt's share of the Nile stands at 55.5 billion cubic metres, while Sudan's share stands at 18.5 billion cubic metres, according to these agreements.

The tripartite negotiations, which collapsed in April, are likely to resume soon following a push by the United Nations Security Council.

Shoukry has stressed that Ethiopian's rhetoric indicates that Addis Ababa "has no political will to reach an agreement."

Egypt and Sudan have blamed the failure of previous rounds of GERD talks on Ethiopia’s intransigence.

Earlier in September, the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement encouraging Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia "to resume negotiations" to swiftly reach a "mutually acceptable and binding agreement on the filling and operation" of Ethiopia’s mega-dam.

Both Arab countries resorted to the security council after Ethiopia unilaterally completed the first and second filling of its controversial dam despite the absence of an agreement.

In a recorded speech delivered to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi slammed Ethiopia's "intransigence" in the previous rounds of talks.

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