Egypt’s Foreign Minister visits United States for joint meeting on GERD

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry traveled to the US on Saturday to participate in a joint Egyptian-Ethiopian-Sudanese meeting to assess the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD’s) negotiations, and the results of the four meetings during the past two months.

Shoukry met with members of the US government to discuss bilateral relations between Egypt and the US, and consult on regional developments.

Egyptian sources anticipated that the negotiations would extend for another month until an agreement was finally reached on the rules for filling and operating the GERD. If an agreement failed to be met the three countries would have to resort to a neutral international mediator to resolve the disagreement, according to Article 10 of the “Declaration of Principles” signed by the three countries in 2015, the sources added.

The sources said that besides using a share of the Nile river’s water for power generation purposes, Ethiopia is also planning to utilize the water for agriculture which would prove harmful to Egypt’s own water interests.

Ethiopia’s continued rejections reveal it’s intention to disregard Egypt and Sudan’s water interests, the sources stressed.

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan held a ministerial meeting on the GERD during January 8-9 in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, sponsored by the US and the World Bank, as part of talks that began on November in Washington to reach a final agreement in January regarding the rules for filling and operating the dam.

A statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Ethiopia intends to extend its control over the Blue Nile and to fill and operate the GERD without the slightest regard to the water interests of downstream countries, violating Ethiopia’s legal obligations in accordance with international treaties and norms.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm  

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