Fri, 03 Jul 2020 - 11:40 GMT
Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation during the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam talks, Friday, 3 July 2020 - Press photo
CAIRO – 3 July 2020: Substantial differences between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia were found during reviewing the three countries stances regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks on the technical and legal levels; Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said.
In an official statement, spokesperson Mohamed al-Sebaay said that GERD negotiations were resumed on Friday as a continuation of June 26 African mini-summit held under the auspices of the African Union which is currently headed by South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Representatives of the United States of America, the European Union, South Africa, the African Union Office, and legal experts from the African Union, attended the meeting; Sebaay said.
He noted that the talks tackled filling and operating the dam. All three countries discussed their stances and positions regarding the dam, which exposed ‘substantial differences between the three countries on both of the technical and legal levels’, according to the statement.
The negotiations are expected to be resumed, Saturday with same mechanism and in presence of observers and experts.
On June 27, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed, on forming an African Union-sponsored committee grouping legal and technical experts from the three countries to draft a final binding deal on the GERD and avoid any unilateral action including the dam's filling before finalizing an agreement.
During a virtual mini-summit grouping member states of the Bureau of the African Union Heads of State and Government to discuss the GERD file, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said that Egypt is ready to resume negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia to reach a fair and balanced agreement on filling and operating GERD.
To ensure successful negotiations, all parties shall pledge not to make any unilateral decisions, as well as halt the dam's filling till reaching an agreement preserving the three countries' interests, Sisi said.
On July 2, Egypt’s Irrigation Minister slammed Ethiopia’s behavior to hamper the course of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, saying that Egypt will thwart any attempt of transgression against its rights, state’s MENA cited the irrigation minister as saying to DMC channel.
This comes two days after Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry voiced Egypt's concern about the dam's safety on lives of more than 150 million Egyptian and Sudanese citizens in a UN Security Council meeting on GERD.
Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aaty said Sudan is concerned about the consequences in the event of the dam collapse, adding that such collapse will cause a 16-meter wave that would significantly cause damages in Sudan. Egypt seeks a written agreement that would save the rights of people of Sudan and Egypt, he added.
“Sudan is very concerned about the safety of its dams and about the effect of the Renaissance Dam. The impact of the Renaissance Dam worries Sudan in two cases; the first is the collapse, this is considered a complete devastation of Sudan,” Abdel Aaty said, adding that in case GERD raised a volume of water that is larger than the maximum volume of water expected in floods, it will start to damage the Sudanese dams.
In his speech at the Security Council meeting on the dam, Foreign Minister Shoukry denounced absence of guarantees on the safety of the Ethiopian dam on the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan].
“While we recognize the importance of this project to the developmental objectives of the Ethiopian people, a goal that we share and support, it is essential to realize that this mega-dam, which is Africa’s largest hydropower facility, potentially threatens the welfare, wellbeing, and existence of millions of Egyptian and Sudanese citizens,” Shoukry said.