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Egypt stresses necessity of launching 'serious' negotiation process to reach deal on GERD before flood season
Published in Ahram Online on 05 - 03 - 2021

Egypt stressed the necessity of launching a “serious and effective” negotiation process under the auspices of the African Union (AU) with the participation of international partners for a legally binding deal on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Dam before the upcoming flood season.
The Egyptian foreign ministry said on Friday that foreign minister Sameh Shoukry held a phone call with UN Secretary General António Guterres to discuss the latest developments on the dam.
Shoukry expressed his worry over the latest collapse of AU-sponsored negotiations on the dam in January, reviewing a new Sudanese proposal backed by Egypt to develop the negotiations mechanism through involving international partners as mediators in the talks.
Khartoum has proposed last month to form an international quartet committee to mediate the stalled negotiations on the dam.
The proposed committee would include the US, the European Union (EU), the UN, and the AU, and would be under the auspices of Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the current head of the AU.
The Egyptian foreign minister affirmed the necessity of launching the new negotiation process to reach a fair and balanced legally binding accord on the dam that takes into account the interests of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan before Ethiopia's planned second filling of the dam over the summer.
“Such a unilateral move would have negative impacts and consequences that should be avoided through reaching a deal on the dam at the earliest opportunity,” Shoukry said.
The phone call comes few days after Shoukry and his Sudanese counterpart Mariam Al-Saddiq Al-Mahdi called during a Cairo meeting for international mediation aimed at reaching an agreement over GERD.
They called on Ethiopia to show good will and resume talks over the GERD before the second filing of the dam.
Ethiopia rejects the proposal, arguing that inviting other parties as mediators in the over decade long talks is "demeaning" the efforts of the AU, which currently heads the talks.
The efforts to resolve the crisis come amid worries over controversial plans by Addis Ababa to complete the second filling in July without an accord with Cairo and Khartoum.
Egypt fears the project will significantly cut its crucial water supplies from the River Nile, while Sudan has concerns over how the reservoir will be managed.
Ethiopia says the massive project, which it hopes will make it Africa's largest power exporter, is key to its development efforts.


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