July 17, 2021 (Egypt Independent) — The Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Mohamed Abdel-Ati said Friday that Egypt will not accept any unilateral decision to fill and operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Egypt remains eager to continue negotiations on GERD, he assured, in order to reach a just and binding legal agreement which satisfies the desires of all parties involved.
This came during Abdel-Ati’s meeting with the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Michel Lukonde, to discuss the joint cooperation and historical relations between the two countries and the GERD dispute.
Abdel-Ati reviewed the developments of the Nile water issue and the current position regarding the GERD, stressing Egypt’s desire to preserve its water rights.
Egypt and Sudan requested the participation of international parties led by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he noted, in which the US, the European Union and the United Nations participate in order to actively support negotiations between the three countries and maximize their chances of success, especially after negotiations have stagnated due to Ethiopian intransigence.
Members of the Security Council called on the three countries on July 8 to resume negotiations in order to reach a legal agreement on the dam, which Addis Ababa refuses to sign.
Negotiations over the dam between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have stalled for years, with the three parties ultimately failing to reach any agreements.
Egypt and Sudan fear the impact of the dam on the downstream countries, including possible blows to water facilities, agricultural land, and overall availability of Nile water.
Ethiopia officially informed Egypt on July 5 that it had started the second filling of GERD reservoir, a move that was unilaterally rejected by Egypt.
The disputed dam is the largest hydroelectric project in Africa, with a cost of more than US$4 billion.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi affirmed on Friday that his country seeks to make the Nile River a river of partnership and goodness.
Sisi directed the message toward Ethiopia and Sudan and stressed the importance of reaching a binding legal agreement on GERD for mutual prosperity.
“We have always affirmed Egypt’s readiness to transfer expertise in electricity and agricultural production projects to all our brothers in the African continent,” Sisi added.