Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has urged Ethiopia to accept a compromise over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis.
This came during a joint press conference held with Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Cheikh Al-Ghazouani, in Cairo, according to the official Egyptian News Agency.
Addressing the GERD file, Al-Sisi said during his meeting with Al-Ghazouani: Egypt’s water security is an essential component of Arab Water Security.
Sisi also stressed the importance of urging Ethiopia to demonstrate the political will necessary to reach compromise solutions at the negotiating table, noting that these solutions should protect Ethiopia’s interests while respecting the rights and interests of downstream countries.
The ultimate goal is to establish a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam. Earlier, the two presidents agreed to convene the joint higher committee at the level of foreign ministers in July, 2023.
During the committee meeting a number of cooperation agreements in various fields will be signed, in a way that strengthens the frameworks of Egyptian-Mauritanian cooperation and partnership, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency.
The Mauritanian president arrived at Cairo International Airport yesterday to begin a three-day visit to Egypt. Earlier Egypt has denied Ethiopian claims of reaching an agreement on the period of filling a hydroelectric dam being built on the River Nile.
Egypt and Ethiopia have been locked in a years-long dispute on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Blue Nile river system.
Only Egypt views the GERD as an existential threat to its share of water from the Nile and wants Addis Ababa to reach a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Ethiopia sees the Dam as crucial for its development process and denies any harm to the water share of Egypt and Sudan, two downstream countries.
Last week, the Arab Summit issued a resolution reiterating support for Egypt’s demand for reaching a binding agreement with Ethiopia on the filling and operation of the GERD.’
But the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, on Monday, criticised the Arab resolution, saying in a statement that Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa have reached an agreement on the period of the GERD filling.
But Egypt denied the Ethiopian claims, saying the statement contained untrue allegations.The Egyptian Foreign Ministry termed the Ethiopian statement as a desperate attempt to drive a wedge between the Arab and African countries.
The Ministry accused Ethiopia of violating international law and good neighbourliness principles by filling the Dam without an agreement.
Ethiopia should stop invoking what it calls colonial agreements to derogate from its legal obligations that it signed as a fully sovereign state, and its moral duty not to harm downstream countries.
The two countries at the mouth of the River Nile, Egypt and Sudan, are insisting on first reaching a tripartite agreement to fill and operate the Renaissance Dam to ensure the continued flow of their quotas of the Nile water and the safety of their water installations.
However, Ethiopia rejects this. It says that the dam, which began to be built almost a decade ago, is essential for development and is not intended to harm any other country.
Ethiopia implemented the second filling in July 2021, and had to deal with poverty and drought itself and the rejection by Egypt and Sudan as they considered this as unilateral measures.
Middle East Monitor / ABC Flash Point News 2023.