Shoukry examines with Ethiopian counterpart means to overcome the stalemate in the GERD technical path

Monday 25 December 2017
3:00 PM

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: Egypt proposed the participation of the World Bank as a technical party with an impartial view to decide on the differences in the work of the Tripartite National Committee

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met on December 26th in Addis Ababa with the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu to follow up on the progress of bilateral cooperation between their two countries, and the outcome of the last round of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Tripartite National Committee (TNC) meetings.

The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid said that during the meeting, the Foreign Minister expressed Egypt's deep concern over the stalemate in the technical path undertaken by the TNC, noting that the continued inability of the TNC to reach agreement on the Inception Report prepared by the Consultant would alarmingly stall the completion of the required studies on the GERD effects on the two downstream countries within the time-frame stipulated in the Declaration of Principles.

The Spokesperson added that Minister Shoukry stressed that Egypt has flexibly dealt with the Inception Report and accepted it without reservations, as it believes that the studies are of a technical nature and are not open to interpretation or politicization, as well as Egypt's confidence in the professionalism and objectivity of the Consultant. He noted that the Agreement on Declaration of Principles, signed in March 2015, was clear in highlighting that the studies must be completed prior to the start of the GERD filling in accordance with Article V of the Agreement; it even stipulates the need for the three States to agree on the rules for filling the reservoir and its annual  operation. 

For his part, the Ethiopian Foreign Minister stressed his country's commitment to the Agreement on Declaration of Principles, and that Ethiopia is keen on the success of the negotiations and cooperation between the three countries, noting that it does not seek to harm Egypt's water interests.

Shoukry outlined that Egypt's water security is a sensitive matter and therefore it is not possible to rely only on promises and display of goodwill, but it is necessary that the three countries abide by the Agreement of the Declaration of Principles, especially with regard to relying on the studies as the basis and reference for the first filling of the GERD and its annual operation. Shoukry also underscored that Egypt is keen to complete the technical studies, hence it suggests the presence of a third party with an impartial view to to participate in the work of the Tripartite National Committee and decide on the differences between them, namely the World Bank, given the Bank's extensive technical expertise, and its technical opinion which would facilitate reaching an agreement within the work of the TNC, pointing out that Egypt trusts the impartiality of the World Bank and its ability to employ highly qualified technical experts.

Finally, the Ethiopian side promised to consider the Egyptian proposal and respond at the earliest opportunity, while the Egyptian side expressed its intention to acquaint Sudan with the proposal in the coming days.