Kinshasa negotiations over GERD made no progress: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that the current round of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations held in Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo on April 4-5 did not achieve any progress nor did it lead to an agreement on re-launching the negotiations.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said that Ethiopia rejected the proposal submitted by Sudan and supported by Egypt to form an international quartet led by Congo, which heads the African Union, to mediate between the three countries.

He added that Ethiopia also rejected all other proposals and alternatives put forward by Egypt and Sudan in order to develop the negotiation process to enable the countries and parties participating in the negotiations as observers to actively engage in the discussions, participate in the conduct of the negotiations, and propose solutions to the controversial technical and legal issues.

And Ethiopia has further rejected an Egyptian proposal supported by Sudan during the closing session of the ministerial meeting to resume negotiations under the leadership of the Congolese president and with the participation of observers in accordance with the existing negotiations.

Hafez stressed that it is Ethiopia’s stubbornness that has led to the failure of the meeting to reach a consensus. This betrays Ethiopia’s lack of political interest to negotiate in good faith, he noted, as it would rather seek to delay the matter through formal and useless negotiations.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resumed on Saturday negotiations in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa on the filling and operating of the GERD after a two-month halt. The technical committee meetings on Saturday were held under the invitation of the African Union, while ministerial meetings started on Sunday.

The latest sessions for negotiations in January have been fruitless.

Egypt on January 10 said that the recent sessions of GERD negotiations have failed once again due to differences on how to resume talks and of the procedural aspects related to managing the negotiation process.

Egypt and Sudan say they want a legally binding agreement on filling and operating the GERD, while Ethiopia is trying to evade a binding agreement.

The three parties have held several rounds of negotiations over the past decade, but have ultimately failed to reach an agreement.

The construction of the dam, which began in 2011, is considered to be one of Egypt’s most serious water issues.

Egypt, which relies considerably on freshwater from the Nile, has voiced fears that the GERD would negatively impact the country’s water supply, and has insisted that measures be put in place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the dam’s filling process.

Ethiopia, on the other hand, has stressed the importance of the project to bolster its economy, where more than half of the population currently lives without access to electricity.

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