Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has called Ethiopia’s recent statements against Egypt and Sudan in the ongoing Nile dam crisis as provocative.
Shoukry added that the statements are working to internationalise the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue outside the framework of the African Union (AU).
He also said the Ethiopian allegations were an attempt to evade and disavow any international mechanisms that would contribute to solving the dam issue.
Speaking in televised statements, Shoukry said that Ethiopia continues its provocations regarding the GERD, but that Egypt is aware of its rights and how to defend them.
Regarding Egypt’s payment of the price of water to Ethiopia, he explained that it is a rule that was not foreseen or applied in any international river. The minister said that there is no place for this matter and its proposal aims to provoke and confuse.
Shoukry said that the UN Security Council will not fail to assume its responsibilities in the GERD crisis, adding, “The Ethiopian side has not reached the stage of construction work that would enable it to completely fill the second filling.”
The minister added, “The council accepted Egypt’s request to hold a session to deliberate the issue of the GERD in connection with the unilateral action taken by Ethiopia to first fill the dam’s reservoir.”
He also said that Addis Ababa’s allegations have no credibility, but are an attempt once again to evade the mechanisms that can deal with this issue.
Shoukry pointed out that Egypt has placed great confidence in the African framework, and the efforts made by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, and then President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi, who currently holds the AU presidency. This relates to the resumption of negotiations, to manage them in a way that leads to achieving the purpose and reaching an agreement.
“After a year of these efforts, we have not reached any progress in these negotiations, nor any result,” he said.
“At the Kinshasa meetings about two months ago, Ethiopia blocked the negotiations and rejected the proposals put forward by Egypt and Sudan to resume them,” Shoukry said, “This would lead to giving the AU presidency the ability and use of the international community, who can contribute their experience and knowledge of the special techniques of this matter.”
Shoukry said that Ethiopia has violated the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement, and as a result will be held accountable to the international community, until the Security Council intervenes to put matters in perspective.
The minister pointed out that Egypt has submitted several letters to the UN Security Council President to inform it of developments in the GERD issue.
“The Security Council states have the ability to arrive at a sound technical agreement on how to manage rivers, which leads to their benefit, and at the same time prevents serious damage to the downstream states, but the Ethiopian side has refused for a decade to reach this agreement,” he said.
Commenting on the Ethiopian side’s statements regarding military escalation, Shoukry said, “This is an approach that we have become accustomed to over the past years of provocative statements that do not lead to harmony, and the insistence on imposing a single will.”
He pointed out that Egypt seeks to use peaceful means and resort to international mechanisms. This, however, does not deny that the country has the ability and determination to defend the interests of its people
In the case of damage, Egypt will not be lenient in defending the interests of its people, and will not tolerate its rights being violated, Shoukry said.
He also said that Egypt will adopt, at every stage, the elements and capabilities it has available that are commensurate with the existing situation.