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International bodies urge Egypt and Ethiopia to hold talks over GERD

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Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit Addis Ababa on Sunday

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr is heading to Addis Ababa on Sunday to meet with top Ethiopian officials to discuss the GERD and relations between the two countries (AFP File Photo)

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr is heading to Addis Ababa on Sunday to meet with top Ethiopian officials to discuss the GERD and relations between the two countries
(AFP File Photo)

The Ethiopian government stressed on Friday its clear acceptance of all recommendations of the Tripartite International Panel of Experts (IPoE), as well as its hope that Egypt would engage in negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia for their implementation.

In its weekly statement, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “It is now up to the three governments to decide how to carry out these recommendations [of the IPoE], which are divided into two parts. One set of recommendations are directed to the government of Ethiopia; the other to the three governments of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan jointly.”

Ethiopia stressed that construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is in line with international design criteria and standards, adding that the government had begun updating project documents as well environmental and social impacts studies following the IPoE recommendations.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr is heading to Addis Ababa on Sunday to meet with top Ethiopian officials to discuss the GERD and relations between the two countries, reported state-run Al-Ahram.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had contacted President Mohamed Morsi as well as Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to encourage both countries to hold talks over the GERD.

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, noted “with concern” the tension between Egypt and Ethiopia resulting from public statements made on the Nile water issue, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

Zuma believes the three countries can cooperate to resolve the issue and agree on trans-boundary water management arrangements.

“The Chairperson of the Commission recalls the principles enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act and other relevant instruments, which commit Member States to uphold the spirit of cooperation, dialogue and good neighborliness, and to settle disputes exclusively through peaceful means” the statement read.

She also expressed the AU commission’s readiness to provide all appropriate assistance to foster mutual understanding and cooperation.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni meanwhile expressed his full support for the GERD, and praised the project for its environmental and sustainable energy benefits to African countries.

Tension between Egypt and Ethiopia has simmered over the past few weeks after several statements from Egyptian politicians and figures had implied hostility towards Ethiopia.

“As Ethiopia has said again and again, scare tactics are futile,” read Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry statement. “Ethiopia will not bow to such pressure and it will not halt or delay the construction of the GERD. The only way to peace and development for the peoples of the Nile Basin is cooperation.”

The statement went on to posit that the Egyptian government was trying to use scare tactics to deal with internal political problems and dodge the opposition’s call for early elections.


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