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Foreign minister returns from Ethiopia and Sudan

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Amid heightened tensions, the foreign ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia released joint statement expressing cooperation

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr met with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Addis Ababa and discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Photo from Mohamed Kamel Amr’s Facebook page )

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr met with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Addis Ababa and discussed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
(Photo from Mohamed Kamel Amr’s Facebook page )

Ethiopia has no intention of harming Egypt and Sudan’s water interests, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr assured Egyptians in a Tuesday address.

Amr spoke in a press conference upon his return from a visit to Ethiopia and Sudan to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). He described the trip as “a first step to solutions that serve everyone’s interests.”

The next step will be Egypt’s invitation to hold meetings that involve the water resources and foreign ministers of the three countries to hold talks on the implementations of the recommendations of the report of the International Panel of Experts (IPoE) on the effects of the dam. This would ensure that both the technical and political aspects of the issue are tackled. The meeting will be held in the next few days.

The report had suggested establishing a water reserve for downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan to use in case of droughts and emergencies. The report also proposed that Ethiopia conduct more in-depth studies of the effects of the dam.

Egyptian and Ethiopian foreign ministers said in a joint statement on Tuesday that Egypt and Sudan’s water security concerns and Ethiopia’s developmental interests will be taken into consideration when it comes to the GERD.

“Egypt is not against development in Ethiopia or in any country,” Amr said, but emphasised that the Nile is “the only source of water for Egypt” and that protecting the country’s water resources was of paramount concern.

During his visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Amr voiced Egypt’s concerns over the possible effects of the GERD on Egypt’s share of Nile water.

In response, the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the dam will be used exclusively for power generation and is being constructed in a way that takes Egypt’s water security concerns into account.

Amr also noted in his conference that the Ethiopian side had assured him that dam’s method of construction would allow for changes to be made.

The Egyptian and Ethiopian foreign ministers agreed on the need to continue dialogue and communication.  Ghebreyesus immediately accepted Egypt’s invitation to visit Cairo soon, and said that he is “committed to a win-win approach as the basis for future cooperation.”

Following the meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart, Amr said the talks were open, honest and constructive. “We agreed on the timeframe and that the negotiations are not open-ended,” he said.

The visit to Ethiopia was followed by another official visit to Sudan, in which Amr met with a delegation from the Sudanese foreign ministry on Tuesday and discussed the results of his visit to Ethiopia. Amr concluded his one-day trip to Khartoum with a meeting with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

Amr said there is a clear desire among the three countries that none of them be harmed.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson meanwhile said the trip to Ethiopia is part of a long political process between the three countries to implement the recommendations of the IPoE, and that the talks had been held in a positive atmosphere.

In a ceremony in late May, the Ethiopian government began diverting waters from one of the Nile’s main tributaries, the Blue Nile.

A number of concerns have been raised by Sudan and Egypt regarding the GERD since the start of its construction in April 2011.

Egypt has long received the largest share of the water from the Nile, as per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, which guaranteed Egypt 55.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total of 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year.

  • Zereyaqqob

    I am happy tha that last we start to see some flicker of light. Now it is upto the three countries, mainly upto Ethiopia and Egypt to make this flicker becomes brighter and brighter.

  • Eshetu Denbel

    The Egyptian side gets nothing except the confirmation of what Ethiopia pledged before i.e. no plan to harm Egyptian people. If the Egyptian side’s understandings of the GERD issues is the same as with their foreign minister’s words, the new developmental cooperations will be flourished among the Nile Basin Countries. Now the wild card is with the Egyptians side to swim or to die together with other countries. War can have measurable disasters but peace give us very infinite benefits.
    God bless you all!

  • daod

    What they have accomplished during the last eleven years of negotiations is a posetive reasult, it is not a one night project. Now, we need also un engagement of the Nile basin states in mutually fair and acceptable agreement incorporating equitable distribution of all water resources.

  • GTeka

    Prejudice doesn’t help any one . Speculations shouldn’t lead politicians, the best way is to sit together and discuss issues with the context of the real world today and best international experiences. Win win doesn’t mean that there are no things to give up when you claim something. The best thing that you wish to yourself may also be needed by the other. Nile countries could best benefit one another if they think beyond the water issue.

  • shifaw

    If the Egyptian Government puts aside the past Colonial Treaties, which gave no (zero) consideration of the other Nile riparian countries, and starts genuine negotiation on mutual understanding and respect, then I am quite sure that all parties/countries will benefit and use the Nile river, without harming one another.

  • Pingback: Ethiopian delegation in Cairo for dam talks - Daily News Egypt

  • Pingback: Ethiopian delegation in Cairo for dam talks – Daily News Egypt | Everyday News Update


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