Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has reiterated Egypt’s rejection of any unilateral measures related to the second filling of Ethiopia’s controversial dam.
Shoukry also said that any unilateral action will cause harm to Egypt, whilst highlighting that Egypt has shown flexibility regarding filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). He added, however, that there are limits to bearing the damage such actions may incur.
The minister’s made his remarks during televised statements on Friday evening, in which he also said that Egypt has always declared that it will not tolerate any harm to its water share. The Egyptian authorities have also made it clear that it will not accept any harm to the Egyptian people.
He added that Egypt had expressed desire for helping Ethiopia to achieve development, saying, “There is harm that we can bear in return for our brothers in Ethiopia for development, and there is harm that we reject.”
Shoukry said that determining the level of damage to Egypt will take place through technical agencies and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, which monitors around the clock the developments related to the GERD. He expressed hope that the Ethiopian policy will be responsible.
“We put forward proposals, pushed for interference in the African framework, and activate the role of observers, but Ethiopia did not respond to it,” he said.
He said that Egypt is still seeking a wider role for its African partners, and pointed out that the United Nations (UN) has come to witness the Ethiopian attitude on the issue. The international organisation has also seen the flexibility of the Egyptian and Sudanese sides, and their efforts to reach an agreement on the dam.
Regarding the latest Ethiopian statements related to the second filling in July, Shoukry said that it reflects the country’s intransigence and attempt to impose a fait accompli on others.
He added that any issue related to an international river must be dealt with at an international level, because it falls within international law. This is because it relates to the relationship between more than one country, and cannot be termed as an internal matter.
US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman travelled to the region two weeks ago, visiting Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan from 4 May-13 May. During his visit, he held meetings with officials from the respective governments, as well as the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU).
Feltman lead a sustained diplomatic effort to address the interlinked political, security, and humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa.
The US official’s visit to the region came amid a stalemate in the negotiations between the three parties involved in the GERD issue, namely Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.