Egypt's FM Sameh Shoukry in his meeting with the US State secretary Anthony Blinken in New York on Wednesday 22 September, 2021. (Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed in a meeting on Wednesday the latest developments regarding the dispute caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), expressing desire for results-oriented negotiations on the decade-old row.
In a meeting on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Blinken and Shoukry discussed "our mutual desire for results-oriented negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under the auspices of the African Union," said a statement by the US State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Egypt and Sudan have been negotiating in vain with Ethiopia for a decade now to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation rules of the controversial dam, a source of tension between the three African countries since 2011.
The AU-brokered talks on GERD, which collapsed in April, are likely to resume soon after a push from the United Nations Security Council.
The meeting in New York tackled a range of regional issues, including Israeli-Palestinian relations, diplomatic efforts on Libya and Egypt’s leadership in founding the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, according to the statement.
Price said the pair also discussed “the high value both the United States and Egypt place on strengthening and deepening our partnership that is responsive to the full range of issues in the bilateral relationship.”
The secretary noted that "such a strengthened partnership would be facilitated by steps from the government of Egypt to improve its protection of human rights, including by implementing measures in the National Strategy on Human Rights launched by the Egyptian government last week," as per the statement.
Earlier in September, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched the National Strategy for Human Rights during a ceremony in the New Administrative Capital.
Egypt's FM Sameh Shoukry in his meeting with Russian counterpart FM Sergey Lavrov in New York on Wednesday 22 September, 2021. (Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
The strategy will run until 2026 and address civilian and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; the rights of marginalised groups (women, children, disabled people, youth and the elderly); and education and capacity building in the human rights field.
Blinken and Shoukry agreed to hold a bilateral strategic dialogue to discuss regional issues, human rights, security cooperation, and economic relations, Price noted.
Minister Shoukry stressed to Blinken that the strategic relations between Egypt and the US are "indispensable" to both countries’ interests and especially for the development process in Egypt, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
The statement added that Shoukry and Blinken discussed preparations for the upcoming round of strategic dialogue between the two countries.
Shoukry also held a meeting on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, FM Sergey Lavrov, to discuss bilateral relations and recent international and regional issues, according to the ministry.
The Egyptian foreign minister has been in and out of meetings with various top diplomats and officials since his arrival in New York on 20 September, already meeting with representatives from Estonia, Tunisia, Rwanda, India, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Ukraine, Pakistan, France, Ireland, and Vietnam.
Shoukry also met with Finland’s FM Pekka Haavisto, where they exchanged their views on recent political and security issues of mutual concern, according to a short statement by the Finnish foreign ministry.
Furthermore, the Egyptian FM met with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who is also the UN secretary-general’s special advocate for inclusive finance for development, to discuss cooperation in the field of financial inclusion and Egypt’s recent efforts in that field.