Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Solskjaer claims refs influenced by Klopp's penalty comments    France, Germany nominate WHO chief Tedros for a second term    Zamalek extend stay of fan favourite coach Carteron for 3 seasons    Tunisian President Kais Saied lifts overnight anti-coronavirus curfew    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    German parties rally supporters ahead of Sunday election    US special envoy to Haiti resigns over migrant expulsions    Women's voices at UN General Assembly few, but growing: AP report    Africa needs seven-fold rise in COVID-19 vaccine shipments: WHO    Egypt's stocks end the week in green as benchmark EGX 30 adds 0.43%    Egypt to issue its second dollar bonds today    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Genoa, Italy's oldest soccer club, sold to American company    Dubai real-estate firm DAMAC approved to take firm private    Egypt looks forward to resumption of AU-sponsored GERD talks: FM    Egypt electricity minister leads high-level delegation to 65th IAEA General Conference    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    President Sisi says River Nile lifeline for Egyptians, slams Ethiopia's intransigence in GERD talks    UAE-based Alameda to invest around $318 mln in Egypt in five years    Egypt to be removed from England's red travel list on September 22    Jordan hosts energy meeting today to discuss transporting Egyptian gas to Lebanon    Russia permits airlines to resume flights from 49 cities to Egypt    Egypt's Abu Soma Development partners with KOMPASS Education    Sisi: coronavirus vaccines in Africa 'far less' than actual needs    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    Egypt denounces Ethiopia's move to start second filling of giant dam    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

'Satisfactory solutions' on the GERD?
Published in Ahram Online on 03 - 08 - 2021

Cairo and Khartoum, both still after a diplomatic solution to the crisis over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), this week welcomed an Algerian attempt at mediation intended to bridge the differences between the two capitals and Addis Ababa and put the negotiations back on track.
Visits by Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra to the three states have led to Algeria being given the green light to play the role of mediator between the parties, especially in the wake of its previous role as a mediator in the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict in 2000, said one diplomat who preferred to remain anonymous.
"However, unless the Algerian initiative is clearly drawn up according to a timetable and mechanism that will lead to a legally binding agreement, it will meet the fate of previous mediation attempts," he said.
During his visit to Egypt this week, Lamamra said that his country was keen to see Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia reach "satisfactory solutions" to the GERD issue.
"We believe that the relations between the three countries are passing through a critical stage, and that it is important that they reach an agreement on the water issue," he said in a joint press conference after his meeting with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri.
Lamamra said he was keen to hear all the information he could about the issue from each country during his visits to the three countries. He also expressed his wish that Algiers could be "part of the solution to the problems that face the Arab and African countries, at the top of which is the dam issue."
Algeria is influential in both the Arab League and the African Union (AU), and Egyptian professor of political science Tarek Fahmi said he expected Lamamra's visit to lead to something new with regard to returning to the negotiating table.
He said the visit to Cairo was an exploratory one that could be expected to be followed by either an initiative to restart the tripartite negotiations, or another shuttle tour, or a call for a tripartite summit to be attended by the heads of state of the three countries with the technical teams involved.
But the main purpose of Lamamra's visit was to thwart an Israeli attempt to join the AU as an observer, he said. "He aimed to kick Israel out of the AU," Fahmi told Al-Ahram Weekly. On 22 July, Israel attained observer status at the AU after nearly two decades of diplomatic efforts.
Khartoum welcomed the Algerian initiative on the GERD, and in a meeting with Lamamra, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi said her country wanted to see a diplomatic solution to the GERD crisis.
She re-emphasised Sudan's stance on the need to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. Sudan has previously proposed the formation of an international quartet made up of the United Nations, the European Union, the US, and led by the AU, to help to resolve the decade-old dispute.
During Lamamre's visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen asked Algeria to play a role in "correcting" what he described as the Arab League's misperceptions about the GERD and "underscoring Ethiopia's intentions to see the fair and equitable utilisation of the Nile water," the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the meeting.
In June, the Arab League issued a resolution after its meeting in the Qatari capital Doha rejecting any measures that would undermine the water share of Egypt and Sudan from the Nile and calling on the UN Security Council to intervene to resolve a crisis that threatens peace and security in the region.
Ethiopia denounced the resolution, describing the position of the regional organisation as "misguided".
During his meeting with Lamamra, Mekonnen said Ethiopia was firmly committed to resuming the trilateral negotiations under the auspices of the AU. Ethiopia has also asked Algeria to help to persuade Sudan to resolve a border issue over the Fashqa region peacefully.
According to Abbas Sharaki, a professor of geology and water resources at Cairo University, the Algerian intervention indicates disappointment in the UN Security Council, the loss of hope in African AU-led negotiations that have now reached a deadlock, and the lack of seriousness in the EU call to resume the negotiations quickly.
"Egyptian diplomacy continues on all international and regional levels, however. The fact that Ethiopia could not carry out the second filling of the GERD as originally planned has helped to keep the status quo more or less as it is for another year," he said.
Ethiopia declared last month that the second filling of the Dam was complete. Although it did not disclose the exact amount of water used, experts believe that it could not have exceeded four billion square metres (bcm), much less than what was previously declared by officials.
They had repeatedly announced that Addis Ababa would unilaterally fill the GERD's reservoir with 13.5 bcm in July and August to raise the amount of water to 18.4 bcm, up from the 4.9 bcm secured in the first filling in July last year.
This level of water is sufficient for Addis Ababa to operate the first two turbines of the dam and to start generating electricity.
Egypt's attempts to use diplomatic channels to resolve the Dam crisis continued in other ways this week.
The GERD issue was highlighted during Shoukri's meeting with Czech counterpart Jakub Kulhánek, who said their talks had addressed the Ethiopian dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the GERD, voicing his full support for the negotiations and international mediation to reach a solution on the issue.
In a phone call last week, Shoukri discussed with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian the latest developments concerning the GERD, reiterating Egypt's aim to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Shoukri told Le Drian that he was looking forward to continuing consultation and coordination with France on the GERD, drawing on France's position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Talks held under the auspices of the AU throughout last year failed to secure an agreement on the dam's filling and operations, and Cairo and Khartoum have demanded that Addis Ababa cease filling the massive reservoir until such a deal is reached.
The UN Security Council met in early July to discuss the issue, and Tunisia submitted a draft resolution to members of the council during the session. The draft resolution was supposed to be discussed in the session, with a view to later voting. However, Ethiopia slammed the session as an "unhelpful distraction" to the AU-led negotiating process.
The July meeting was the second time the UN Security Council has met to discuss the GERD, having last convened on 29 June last year when it called on the parties to return to the AU-led negotiations.
The only way to resolve the GERD crisis is thus within the framework of the AU, Fahmi said. "The next move will be resuming the negotiations linked to a time table if possible and prompted by the Democratic Republic of Congo as chair of the AU together with Algeria and the EU."
He said this was why Shoukri had recently visited Luxembourg and a number of other European states.
However, he added that although the Ethiopian side welcomed the Algerian initiative, any progress would be linked to how far Addis Ababa was willing to present concessions, and, more importantly, to the presence of a clear mechanism drawn up by the AU in collaboration with the EU.
He added that Algeria would also need the support of the Arab states in its mediation efforts.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 5 August, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.