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Egypt seeks UN resolution on GERD filling as Ethiopia rejects


GERD under construction (Ethiopian FM photo)
June 29, 2020 (NEW YORK) - Egypt and Ethiopia diverged on the involvement of the Security Council in the resolution of their dispute over the first filing of the Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In a meeting held on Monday, the Council discussed the stalled negotiations between the three riparian countries to conclude a deal over the GERD’s filing.

Speaking at the teleconference meeting the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shourky told the 15-member body that the GERD could endanger the security and survival of the whole Egyptian nation.

Also, he praised the recent meeting of the African Union Bureau initiated by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and submitted a draft resolution for adoption by the Security Council saying it is in harmony with the outcome of the regional summit.

“This draft resolution is not intended to preempt or forestall any negotiations, but to express, at the highest level, the keen interest of the international community in reaching an agreement on the GERD and its appreciation of the dangers of acts of unilateralism in this matter,” he said.

In a meeting on 26 June chaired by President Ramaphosa, leaders of the African Union Bureau countries, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt agreed to postpone the filling until an agreement is reached by the three countries.

They also agreed that this deal should be concluded within two weeks to allow Ethiopia to start the filling process in July.

For his part, the Ethiopian Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie rejected the Egyptian draft resolution saying that the Security Council is not the “legitimate place” to discuss the issue.

“It is bound to set a bad precedent and open a Pandora’s box. This Council should not be a forum for settling scores and for exerting diplomatic pressure. It is, therefore, regrettable that the Council has allowed itself to be politicized in this manner,” stressed Atske-Selassie.

Almost all the participants at the meeting voiced their support for a regional solution for the dispute.

Jerry Matthews Matjila, South African Ambassador, who spoke before Minister Shoukry urged the Security Council to “respect the African Union and our continent’ efforts” particularly the agreed mechanism in the last AU Bureau meeting.

Sudan’s Ambassador to the UN Omer Mohamed Ahmed Siddig for his part pointed to the efforts done by his government to settle the disagreement and stressed that the Sudanese draft agreement filled to the two other parties during Khartoum hosted a meeting this month can serve as good ground to strike a deal.

For her part, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary A. DiCarlo commended the parties for their determination to negotiate an agreement and congratulated the African Union’s efforts to facilitate a mechanism to end the row.

“The remaining differences are technical and legal in nature. They include the binding nature of an agreement, the dispute resolution mechanism and the management of water flow during droughts,” stressed DiCarlo.


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