Egypt shows flexibility in GERD talks, while Ethiopia manoeuvres: Egyptian official

Daily News Egypt
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Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aaty said that Egypt has shown high levels of flexibility throughout the negotiation period over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

This is with the aim of reaching an agreement that preserves the rights of the three countries involved in the issue, namely Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

During a meeting of the Supreme Council for Media Regulations (SCMR), on Tuesday, Abdel Aaty stressed that Egypt will not allow a water crisis for its people. The country will also not accept the occurrence of negative impacts as a result of the second filling of the dam’s reservoir.

The minister added that the negotiation process has stalled, and Ethiopia is attempting to waste time. He pointed out that there are about 11 dams on the River Nile, some of which were funded by Egypt, and which confirms Cairo’s good intention in dealing with the right of the riparian peoples of the river to development.

During the meeting, Abdel Aaty reviewed the history of the negotiation process and revealed the extent of Egypt’s flexibility throughout the negotiation period. This has been to reach a binding legal agreement that preserves the Ethiopian side’s right to development, and Egypt and Sudan’s share of River Nile water, as the downstream countries. 

The Egyptian efforts also took into account the technical aspects and potential risks of building the dam or starting a new filling process without agreeing to specific mechanisms.

The meeting ended up with agreeing to form a permanent committee for media communication and follow-up on the water file and GERD, from the Ministry of Irrigation and the SCMR. The committee’s aim is to raise awareness of the water issue and emphasise the need to conserve consumption and modern irrigation methods.

Also on Tuesday, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed that his country will commence the second filling of its massive Blue Nile dam in July as planned, in order to avoid any losses to the country. 

“Ethiopia has absolutely no desire whatsoever to cause harm to Egypt, nor to Sudan,” Ahmed added, during his speech before the Ethiopian parliament. 

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