The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Counselor Ahmed Abu Zeid, said Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry held a political consultations session with his Ethiopian counterpart Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu on July 1st on the sidelines of the African Union Executive Council meetings in Addis Ababa. They discussed the overall Egyptian-Ethiopian relations in all aspects, as well as the Tripartite cooperation path between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, developments regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam GERD, and progress in terms of the Tripartite National Committee in charge of the studies on the impact of GERD on the two downstream countries.
The two sides agreed on the importance of starting preparations for the meeting of the High-level Joint Committee between the two countries at Summit level, as well as to reach agreement with Sudan on the best way to expedite the operation of the tripartite investment fund to implement projects that would be of benefit for the three countries.
As for the GERD file, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson explained that Foreign Minister Shoukry affirmed to his Ethiopian counterpart that Egypt attaches great importance to the completion of the technical path concerning the Renaissance Dam studies and its impact on Egypt as soon as possible, and to eliminating any obstacles that may impede completion of such course, so as to facilitate finishing the required studies on their scheduled time without any delay. Shoukry added that Egypt is the main party that could be affected by the completion of construction of GERD and its operation without taking into account the Egyptian concerns.
In this context, the Minister of Foreign Affairs renewed the request of the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation to both his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts to hold an immediate Ministerial meeting to issue the necessary directives to the Tripartite National Committee on GERD (TNC) to take the appropriate decision vis-à-vis the draft inception report issued by the Consultant, which is still not approved by the TNC, in order to ensure progress in preparing studies in accordance with the agreed time-frame. Minister Shoukry asked his Ethiopian counterpart to respond to the Egyptian request to facilitate holding the Ministerial meeting as soon as possible.
Abu Zeid added that Shoukry also confirmed to his Ethiopian counterpart that the Agreement on Declaration of Principles signed between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan clearly confirms the necessity to adhere to the results of the studies regarding the potential impacts of GERD on the two downstream countries, in determining the period of filling GERD reservoir and its annual operating rules. He stressed that wasting more time without completion of the studies on time will place the three countries in a challenging situation. Therefore, this requires political intervention to put things right, so that to guarantee the completion of the existing technical cooperation path.
Finally, Abu Zeid indicated that the dialogue between Egypt and Ethiopia Foreign Ministers was totally clear and frank. The Ethiopian Minister affirmed for his part that his country is committed to cooperating with Egypt in order to complete the tripartite technical path, and finalizing the studies on time. He also underscored Ethiopia’s commitment to the tripartite Agreement on Declaration of Principles.