Egypt denies it hindered Ethiopian dam talks

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry denied that Egypt was hindering a solution regarding discussions on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Egypt sent Shoukry on Wednesday to hold discussions with Sudanese and Ethiopean counterparts. Discussions also involved the countries’ Ministers of Irrigation and the Heads of Central Intelligence. After unproductive talks, Shoukry requested another round of discussions to reach a final agreement before resuming studies on the dam.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid also denied media reports that Ethiopia and Sudan held Egypt responsible for the failure of the latest round of negotiations in Khartoum, saying Egypt entered the meeting with a positive attitude to reach a final agreement. He also said that the countries’ three leaders have ordered their foreign ministers to break the stagnancy that has hit the negotiations.

In a statement released yesterday, Abu Zeid added that Egypt proved its readiness to move forward with a solution when it proposed that the World Bank oversees negotiations, among other suggestions.

Ethiopia began constructing GERD in 2011. Upon completion, it is set to become the largest dam in Africa. GERD will cost $4.7 billion in total to build, and Ethiopia plans to fill the reservoir with water.

However, Egypt has been particularly critical of the dam’s construction, arguing that it will reduce its legitimate share of River Nile water access, and thus threaten its water security.

Several meetings have taken place between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and in the end, Egypt and Sudan both announced their support for GERD, with both governments assuring their people that the dam would not affect their share of water.

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