Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expects Ethiopia to begin the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), after the intransigence it showed during negotiations.
Shoukry warned that Egypt and Sudan will confront politically and decisively any unilateral measure by Ethiopia in order to preserve their water interests.
Speaking during a televised interview, Shoukry said that the Nile waters concern every Egyptian, noting that the government deals with transparency and informs its people of all the negotiations that take place.
Shoukry said that his recent visit to Sudan aimed to confirm the ties between the two countries and assess the filling status of the dam, the pace of construction and review all data related to this issue.
Egypt is following the latest technical developments of the dam, along with Sudan, through satellite images.
Negotiations between the three countries have been suspended since April and Egypt is skeptical about their resumption.
Shoukry said that by going ahead with the filling, Addis Ababa would be in breach of international laws governing trans-national rivers, vowing that “Egypt and Sudan will, with all decisiveness, confront it within a political framework and take all measures to safeguard their water rights.”
Regarding the international community’s position on the issue, Shoukry said the UN Secretary-General expressed concerns over the second filling of the dam and its repercussions on East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
“We are contacting all partners, including the US envoy, the European Union, and the United Nations, to coordinate in solving the crisis,” Shoukry added.
Ethiopia has requested 40-year compensations for protection of the Nile River, however, the minister said such demands are “unacceptable and contradict the rules of international law and have no international references.”
Asked about the 2015 Declaration, he asserted that Ethiopia breached the principles and refused to respond to solutions offered by African countries to settle the crisis.
Ethiopia also obstructed and prevented international consultants to visit the dam, according to Shoukry, stressing that Ethiopia clearly violates the agreements.
Shoukry explained that the 2015 Declaration preserved his country’s rights and laid down the legal framework, noting that it is a measure to ensure Ethiopia’s obligation and compliance to the agreement.
Regarding reports of Ethiopia selling water, Shoukry said it has no reference within the framework of law and international organizations, “it is something unpalatable.”
“We are negotiating about the origin of the Dam, and there is no negotiation over water shares. The scope relates to filling and operating the dam and reaching a binding agreement between the three countries.”
Egypt submitted an official letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council denouncing Addis Ababa’s plan to move ahead unilaterally with the second filling of the GERD on the main tributary of the Nile River.
The Arab League will hold an extraordinary meeting in Doha Tuesday at the level of foreign ministers to discuss the issue.
Ethiopia intends to fill the dam’s reservoir for the second time during the flood season, and Egypt described the procedure as an “intent on imposing a fait accompli” on the two downstream countries, and an explicit violation of international laws.