President Abdel Fattah El Sisi holds a luncheon for leaders who participated in the inauguration of the July 3 Navy Base in the city of Gargoub, Marsa Matrouh- screenshot from the presidency's video.
CAIRO – 4 July 2021: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi stated on Saturday evening that the negotiations with Ethiopia over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) cannot be endless.
“Egypt appreciates and understands the requirements of Ethiopian development, but such development should not be at the expense of others,” said President Sisi at a luncheon held for the international leaders who participated in the inauguration of the July 3 Navy Base in the Mediterranean city of Gargoub, Marsha Matrouh, on Saturday.
President Sisi talked about the Ethiopian approach that has been taken over the past ten years, without reaching a binding international agreement, calling for other countries’ support for Egypt’s stance.
The President affirmed that Egypt has not directly or indirectly threatened anyone throughout history, despite its military power.
The luncheon was attended by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Head of Libya's Presidential Council Mohammed Menfi, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly, Egyptian Minister of Defense General Mohamed Zaki, and a number of leaders of the armed forces and senior officials.
In April 2021, Egypt sent to the United Nations on the issue, voicing its rejection to the Ethiopian intransigence to reach an abiding legal agreement on the dam.
Egypt said that the failure of reaching an agreement threatens international peace and security, and threatens to increase tension in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, Al Shorouk newspaper reported after having a copy of Egypt’s letter.
Cairo also stated that Ethiopia’s action of the second filling the dam’s reservoir with 13.5 billion cubic meters will cause damages and catastrophe to the two downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan].
“The negotiation process led by the African Union (AU) has so far proved its uselessness,” the letter said, adding “After eight months of negotiations, we are not close to signing an agreement.”
Egypt also added that Ethiopia has rejected all the proposals submitted by Egypt and Sudan to move the negotiations forward, continuing that mechanism of data exchange on the dam’s operation that was submitted by Ethiopia imposes the policy of fait accompli on Egypt amid the absence of a legal agreement.
Egypt calls on the international community to urge Ethiopia to participate in the negotiations to reach an agreement in the coming months.
The three countries held several tripartite meetings since 2014 to reach a comprehensive agreement on the dam’s filling and operation. However, no final agreement has been reached yet and each party blames the other for the failure of the negotiations.
In mid-July 2020, Ethiopian authorities unilaterally carried out the first phase of the filling process with 4.9 billion cubic meters; and it is expected that the second phase of the filling would reach 13 billion cubic meters.
The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam, whose capacity is 74 billion cubic meters and is planned to generate 6,000 megawatts per annum through 16 turbines.