Egypt’s FM travels to DR Congo to attend AU’s GERD talks

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Fri, 02 Apr 2021 - 04:53 GMT

FILE - Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019 - Reuters

FILE - Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019 - Reuters

CAIRO – 2 April 2021: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is traveling on Friday to DR Congo to attend talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) sponsored by the African Union.

Foreign ministers and irrigation ministers of the three concerned countries of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are attending the meetings taking place in the early days of April.

The meetings will be held in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry hailed the stance of DR Congo, the current chair of the African Union, which urges serious and effective negotiations to reach a binding agreement on GERD that secures the interests of the three countries.

Rounds of negotiations among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have reached a deadlock several times.

Egypt and Sudan insist that a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam should be reached before Ethiopia implements the second phase of dam filling.

Ethiopia, on the other hand, reiterated that it would complete filling the dam in July whether an agreement is reached or not.

While Ethiopia affirms it would not significantly harm the Egyptian and Sudanese water interests, Sudan warned that that the second filling without a deal can endanger the lives of millions of Sudanese people living on the Nile River banks.

Egypt has frequently condemned the Ethiopian plans to implement the second filling unilaterally.

Booth’s visit

Deputy Egyptian Foreign Minister Hamdy Loza affirmed to US Special Envoy for Sudan Donald Booth in March Egypt’s adherence to the need to reach a legally binding agreement on GERD before Ethiopia completes the dam filling.

As he received Booth in Cairo, Loza highlighted the need to reach an agreement on filling and operating the massive dam as soon as possible, in order to ensure that Egypt and Sudan are not negatively affected by the dam filling, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Loza stressed to Booth that negotiations among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia should be colored by seriousness and effectiveness.

This will contribute to maximizing their chances of success of the talks and allow the three countries to reach a just, balanced and legally binding agreement that achieves the mutual interests of all countries and preserve Egypt’s water rights, Loza said.

Booth’s visit to Egypt comes as part of an official visit that also includes Sudan, DR Congo, the current chair of the African Union as well as Ethiopia to consult on the means to advance the negotiations on the GERD dispute.

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