Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said that Ethiopia’s obstinacy to apply sovereignty over a transnational water resource blocked attempts to reach an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Minister Shoukry announced that Egypt will not go to the Security Council over the issue of the GERD and that it will protect its water security.
He said in televised statements that the Egyptian leadership and institutions are capable of dealing with Ethiopian intransigence and taking measures to protect the Egyptian citizen and water security.
“Ethiopia is trying — with odd ideas — to apply the idea of sovereignty to a common transnational resource, which has made it difficult to reach an agreement under these circumstances.
He noted that his country continues to talk with international partners about its ability to influence, but will not allow its people to be harmed of any kind.
Shoukry noted that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, during all meetings with the leaders, explained Egypt’s position with regard to the GERD and what it is seeking in order to reach a legally binding agreement.
He explained that the Egyptian negotiating positions are aimed at protecting Egyptian water security and taking into account the water interests of Egypt and Sudan, as well as the economic interests related to Ethiopia.
“Egypt has relied throughout its history on the Nile River and that 65% of its people work in agriculture,” said Shoukry, noting that his country is following the fourth filling of the Dam and has plans to contain the matter as much as possible.
He said the AU did not succeed in convincing Ethiopia of the flexibility needed for the negotiations, expressing confidence that Egyptian leaders and institutions will take all measures to protect Egypt’s water security.
Egyptian experts have previously warned that Ethiopia could take advantage of the war in Sudan to finish filling the fourth dam.
A few weeks ago, Ethiopia announced that it had finished building 90% of the dam, amidst an escalating crisis with downstream Egypt and Sudan due to a lack of consensus on the operational nature of the dam. Addis Ababa had taken a unilateral decision to act without advice or coordination with the two countries.
Cairo and Khartoum are committed to first reaching an agreement with Ethiopia to fill and operate the dam, ensuring the continuous flow of their annual water shares, estimated at 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billion cubic meters, respectively.
Addis Ababa continues to reject accusations that it is filling three phases of the dam without any agreement with Egypt or Sudan, saying the dam it has been constructing since 2011 “is not intended to harm anyone”.