Friday 11 June 2021
Ahmed Massad wrote:
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Egypt and Sudan issued a joint statement on Wednesday evening regarding the crisis of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, following an official one-day visit to Sudan by Foreign Ministers Sameh Shoukry and El-Ray Mohamed Abdel-Aty, to meet with senior officials in Sudan.
The joint statement affirmed the unity of ranks and visions between the two countries, and emphasized the risks of the second filling of the Renaissance Dam, without an agreement with the upstream country Ethiopia, at a time when the negotiations did not witness anything new between the three countries, but the statement did not reveal ways to deal with the second filling of the dam if it occurs next July. without consent.
Dr. Mohamed Nasr Allam, the former Minister of Irrigation, said that the Egyptian-Sudanese statement came as a confirmation of the unity of positions and visions between the two downstream countries regarding the potential risks of operating the Renaissance Dam in the second filling, explaining that the crisis is not witnessing anything new.
Allam noted to “Masrawy”, that the statement indicated the continuation of Ethiopian intransigence, stressing that the joint statement represented a unified Egyptian-Sudanese coordination amid other international movements.
The former Minister of Irrigation indicated that the Ethiopian intransigence continues and the statements of Addis Ababa officials are contradictory, adding: “The shuttle tours of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation indicate attempts to pressure the Ethiopian side to resume negotiations.”
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation in Sudan and Egypt expressed deep concern about the potential effects and damages of filling and operating the Renaissance Dam unilaterally and without a legally binding agreement regulating the work of this huge dam, on the rights of Sudan and Egypt and their water interests, and stressed the importance of concerted international efforts to reach a settlement of the Renaissance Dam crisis that takes into account The interests of the three countries and achieve their common interests.
Dr. Abbas Sharaki, Professor of Geology and Water Resources, stressed that the Egyptian-Sudanese statement on the Renaissance Dam refers to the two countries’ approach to the Security Council, pointing out the need not to rely on the African Union alone as an umbrella for negotiation; Rather, international entities with better expertise and capabilities should be added.
Sharaki said, in an exclusive statement to “Masrawy”, that Cairo and Khartoum cling to the last hope of negotiations, in addition to preparing for preparing a legal file to be presented at the table of international forums, so that this step is the nucleus for dealing with the Renaissance Dam crisis in the future.
The water resources expert pointed to the pressures on decision-makers in Cairo and Khartoum, where Ethiopia will fill it within 3 weeks, adding: “The time factor and Ethiopian statements do not indicate optimism or calm.”
In the same context, Dr. Diaa Al-Qusi, advisor to the former Minister of Irrigation, confirmed that the options for Cairo and Khartoum are very limited, explaining that time is not on their side in light of Ethiopia’s continuation of the second filling operations unilaterally.
Al-Qusi added to “Masrawy”, that the two downstream countries stress the need to resume negotiations through international mediators, pointing out that Addis Ababa does not stop the provocative steps of the downstream countries.
An adviser to the Minister of Irrigation said that all Egyptian and Sudanese options are available and that the current calm is the calm before the storm, saying: “Ethiopians only understand the language of force in light of the keenness of my downstream countries to calm the region, which is witnessing tensions in more than one issue.”