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Kinshasa Talks on Ethiopian Dam End With No Progress: FM Shoukry

Kinshasa Talks on Ethiopian Dam End With No Progress: FM Shoukry

Sameh Shoukry at a press conference in Berlin in January 2016 (Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Tuesday that the latest round of talks in Kinshasa regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) ended with no progress.

In an interview with Sky News Arabia, the Foreign Minister stated that Ethiopia’s stances reveal the absence of its political will to negotiate in good faith, and added in a separate interview with Egyptian outlet Extra News that Egypt and Sudan will now turn to international bodies such as the United Nations Security Council to play a more active role in settling the dispute.

Shoukry stressed that the dispute will not only negatively affect Egypt and Sudan, but also international peace and security.

Egypt had referred to the Kinshasa talks as the ‘last chance’ to reach a fair solution before the second filling of the Ethiopian dam in the upcoming flood season. The African Union-sponsored talk consisted of three-day meetings between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, though they collapsed on Tuesday as Ethiopia refused to accept proposals by Egypt and Sudan to invite other parties and to set up an international committee that consists of the United Nations, the European Union and the United States of America.

In late March, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi warned that any attempts to “take a single drop of Egypt’s water” would lead to instability in the region. Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly also delivered a speech during the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level meeting on water expressing Egypt’s concerns with the developments of the dispute.

He added that the past years saw the Ethiopian government taking unilateral measures without taking into account the rights and interests of other countries, which he said is evident in the fact that Ethiopia began filling the Renaissance Dam last year.

In early March, Egypt and Sudan signed a military cooperation agreement amid renewed tensions between the North African countries and Ethiopia over the latter’s plans to go ahead with the second phase of filling the GERD.

Historically, Egypt has enjoyed a considerable share of the Nile’s water due to the 1902 and 1929 colonial-era agreements implemented by the British, as well as a 1959 post-independence bilateral agreement between Egypt and Sudan. These agreements allocated Egypt 55.5 billion cubic meters of water and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic meters.

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