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FM: Egypt will take ‘clear action’ if UN talks on Ethiopia dam fail

June 23, 2020 at 11:13 am

A general view of the Blue Nile river as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on 26 December, 2019 [EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt will be “explicit and clear” about its position if the United Nations Security Council intervention to resolve the dispute arising from Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam is not successful, the North African state’s foreign minister warned yesterday.

Sameh Shoukry told the Associated Press that a “unanimous agreement” could be reached, stressing that that it “has to be negotiated in good faith.”

“We have on many occasions been flexible and been accommodating. But I can’t say that there is a similar political will on the side of Ethiopia,” Shoukry said.“The responsibility of the Security Council is to address a pertinent threat to international peace and security, and certainly the unilateral actions by Ethiopia in this regard would constitute such a threat,” he said.

The minister pointed out that filling the dam’s reservoir without a joint accord would “violate the 2015 Declaration of Principles” and would “rule out a return to negotiations”.

READ: Egypt declares end of Renaissance Dam negotiations due to Ethiopia’s stubbornness 

Egypt, Shoukry stressed, seeks a “fair and balanced solution”.

Shoukry added that his country had not threatened with “a military action,” adding that it had always sought a “political solution”.

“We have worked on convincing the Egyptian public that Ethiopia has a right to build the dam to meet its development goals,” he said.“Egypt has never, never over the past six years even made an indirect reference to such possibilities [military action],” he reiterated.

Shoukry warned that his country would find itself “in a situation that we will have to deal with,” if the UN could not bring Ethiopia back into negotiations and filling begins. “When that time is upon us, we will be very vocal and clear in what action we will take,” he noted.

The Egyptian minister called on the UN, the United States and African nations “to help reach a deal that takes into account the interests of all three countries”, in reference to Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Earlier this month, ministers from the three countries held seven days of negotiations by video conference, but talks ended with no deal. No date was set for a return to the table.

On Friday, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew told AP that his country plans to begin filling the reservoir “with the rainy season in July”, accusing Egypt of “attempting to dictate and control even future developments on our river.”

Egypt, which is almost entirely reliant on the Nile for agriculture and drinking water, fears the filling process will significantly reduce the flow of Nile water, while Ethiopia has dismissed Egypt’s concerns and says the project is key to its own development efforts.

READ: Is Sudan’s neutral stance hindering agreement over Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam?