Egyptian, Algerian FMs discuss GERD, Libya

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Sat, 10 Jul 2021 - 09:48 GMT

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – Reuters

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – Reuters

CAIRO – 10 July 2021: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed on Saturday with the new Algerian foreign minister, Ramtane Lamamra, the developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the situation in Libya.

Making a phone call with Lamamra, Shoukry congratulated the new minister for assuming the post.

Shoukry expressed Egypt’s aspiration to continue coordination and consultation with Algeria and to boost the various frameworks of the bilateral relations in a way that serves the interests of the two countries and their people’s aspiration.

The ministers discussed the developments of the Libyan situation and the GERD issue.

They also exchanged visions on regional issues and underscored the need for concerted efforts toward giving the priority to peaceful solutions to the Arab issues in a way that preserves the unity of the Arab nations and their territorial integrity.

Egypt’s Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Ati received on Monday an official letter from his Ethiopian counterpart Seleshi Bekele confirming that Ethiopia started the second phase of filling the reservoir of its controversial mega dam.

This comes despite Egyptian and Sudanese rejection of the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Ethiopia builds on the Blue Nile, unless the three countries reach a legally-binding agreement on the dam.

Ethiopia has reiterated its plans to implement the second phase of filling in July and through the rainy season whether a deal is reached or not.

Rounds of African Union-sponsored talks have collapsed with Egypt and Sudan blaming the collapse of negotiations on Ethiopia’s intransigence.

In response to Bekele’s Monday letter, Abdel Ati sent an official letter to the Ethiopian minister voicing Egypt’s categorical rejection of Ethiopia’s unilateral act, a statement by the Egyptian irrigation ministry spokesman read.

Abdel Ati said this act represents a clear and dangerous violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries.

The Ethiopian step is also a violation of the international laws and norms that regulate the projects based on the mutual basins and international rivers, including the Nile River.

The Egyptian minister affirmed that there are agreement and charters that regulate the exploitation of the Nile River resources, noting that these agreements oblige Ethiopia to respect the Egyptian water rights and interests, the statement added.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry re-sent the letter of Abdel Ati to the chief of the United Nations Security Council to brief the council on this “dangerous” update in light of the council’s planned session on GERD on Thursday, the statement read.

The spokesman added that this “dangerous update uncovers again Ethiopia’s bad intentions and insistence to take unilateral procedures to impose the fait accomplice and fill and operate the Renaissance Dam without an agreement that takes into consideration the interests of the three countries and limits this dam’s harm on the two downstream countries.”

The spokesman added that this Ethiopian step will “exacerbate the state of crisis and tension in the region and will lead to the creation of a situation that endangers security and peace on the regional and international levels.

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