Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Mohamed Abdel-Ati, said that his country will not accept unilateral action to fill and operate the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), as the UN Security Council convenes within days to discuss the crisis.
Abdel-Ati added that negotiations with Ethiopia over GERD have stagnated as a result of Ethiopia’s intransigence.
His statements came during his participation in the high-level ministerial conference organized by the German government represented by the German Ministry of Environment.
“Egypt remains eager to complete the negotiations to reach a just and binding legal agreement that meets the aspirations of all countries in development, with an emphasis on Egypt’s desire in preserving its water rights and achieving benefit for all in any agreement on GERD, with the importance of the negotiations being effective and serious to maximize chances of success,” he said.
He noted the magnitude of the challenges facing the water sector in Egypt, foremost of which is the limited resources available and the unilateral measures of the Ethiopian side with regard to filling and operating GERD, in addition to climatic changes and their negative effects.
France’s ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere said that the UN Security Council will likely meet this week to discuss the dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the GERD that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.
The Arab League has called the Security Council last month to meet to discuss the issue of the dam, and Ethiopia’s plans for the second phase of filling its reservoir this summer, without an agreement with Egypt and Sudan.
De Riviere, the council’s president for July, noted that the council has little it can do other than bring the parties together to express their concerns and then encourage them to find a solution.
Ethiopia rejected the position of Egypt and Sudan in referring the issue to the Security Council, and called on the council to encourage the two countries to engage in negotiations led by the African Union, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.