Tag Archives: Egypt

EU expects negotiated solution for Ethiopia Grand Dam

Brussels 26.10.2020 The European diplomacy fully supports the efforts of South Africa, the African Union chair, to conclude talks between Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan on Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile with a successful agreement to advantage of all inhabitants of the Blue Nile basin.

“Over 250 million of citizens of the Blue Nile basin stand to benefit from the predictable agreement based on the negotiated arrangement for the filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, they are expecting the investment in water security, aggregation, agricultural production, and electricity generation” the EU spokesperson said, reacting upon the resumption of the talks from October 27 after two months pause, caused by the departure of Egypt delegation.

“The agreement of the filling of the gerd is within the reach of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, now is the time for action, and not for increasing tensions. The efforts of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union to bring the parties to the negotiated solutions have the full support of the European Union which looks for to the imminent resumption and successful conclusion of the talks” the spokesperson added.

Negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over a giant multi-billion dollar dam on the Blue Nile will resume on Tuesday,October 27, nearly two months after Egypt delegation left the talks, African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said on October 26, Monday.

A dispute between the three countries over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) remains unresolved even after the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

“The resumption of the trilateral negotiations on the GERD … is a reaffirmation of the confidence that the parties have in an African-led negotiations process,” Ramaphosa, who is South Africa’s president, said in a statement.

Ethiopia Grand Dam dispute

In his speech to the United Nations the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter water dispute between the three African countries.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July, the move which has risen concerns of damages to the farmers along the Nile, deprived of water supply. However the three states have returned to African Union (AU) -led mediation.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no intention to harm these countries,” he told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in a video statement, pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing AU-led process,” Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy said.

Tensions between neighbours escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt untangled and new talks mediated by the African Union began. Two issues are at the core: what will happen during a drought and what will happen in case of dispute. In terms of the former, Egypt wants the pace of the reservoir filling to be dependent on rains, to ensure a minimum flow if there’s a drought; Ethiopia says such a guarantee is unacceptable. And in terms of disputes, Egypt and Sudan want a resolution mechanism with binding results, but Ethiopia doesn’t.

Borrell concludes visit to Egypt

“…This is a good opportunity to bolster this partnership, because we want to strengthen our relations. And we want to do so because we share many interests. We want to consult with you on many pressing regional issues, in the areas of energy, environment, migration, trade and security. We also want to work together in areas that are important for the well-being of the Egyptian people – water management, socio-economic development, education, and health’ said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, while concluding his visit to Egypt.

“In this regard, we spoke about the emergency package of support we prepared to face the consequences of COVID-19, which is hitting you, us and everybody much stronger than expected. We also discussed how to best handle difficult issues, like human rights. Among friends, we should and we can talk about everything.

Maybe the most important aspects of this visit are the regional issues, because our neighbourhood – the Mediterranean – is in trouble.

“We raised the situation in Libya – which I visited earlier this week, and where Egypt is playing a decisive role and I want to thank you for this role in pushing for and keeping the ceasefire in Libya.

“On the Middle East Peace Process – and above all the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which has prevented the annexation in the Jordan Valley this summer.

“I think that we have to continue working on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the current developments are very worrying, and on the need for de-escalation and dialogue.

“And finally, although it is a little bit far away from the European Union countries and much closer to Egypt, we are very much concerned and we shared comments and considerations about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, where we welcome Egypt’s continued engagement in the negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan, and we hope that you will continue having this important role in order to use this vital resource for Egypt in an organised way”.

Borrell encourages Millenium dam negociated solution

The dispute between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over exploitation of the Millenium Dam is a “matter of stablity” in the region, said the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell while commenting on the situation developing this week in the Horn of Africa.

“… We are following closely the talks, which were facilitated by the United States, and we regret they were not able to solve, or bring any kind of solution, but there are talks facilitated by the United States, and we are not part of this facilitating activity.

“We would be happy to participate if we are called for, but it is not the case, but we are ready to contribute to appease the situation, and to find a pragmatic solution”.

“I have been talking last week with all parties”, – Borrell continued. “And I strongly encourage them to continue the commonly agreed way forward”.

The diplomacy chief also announced plans to organise EU-Sudan partnership conference in Brussels together with Germany, the United Nations on June 22.

“It will be an opportunity for the international community to recall and renew their support to the ongoing political transition in Sudan” Borrell continued, expressing hope that there would be also “concrete pledges”.

Ethiopia Millenium Dam causes tensions

Government of Sudan rejected Ethiopia’s proposal to sign an initial agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and now expressed readiness to resume U.S.-led talks on the project.

According to a statement on May 12, Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok sent a letter to his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed disapproving of an Addis Ababa proposal on an agreement over the dam’s first filling water, which is a crucial issue for agriculture in Sudan and Egypt, risking to lose up to 50% of arable land due to lack of irrigation.

Any signing of a partial agreement for the first filling could not be approved due to “technical and legal aspects that should be included in the agreement,” Hamdok said.

The agreement must incorporate a mechanism of coordination, an exchange of information and the safety of the dam and its environmental and social impacts, he insisted.

Prime minister of Sudan stressed that the path to reach a comprehensive agreement is an immediate resumption of negotiations which he underlined experienced a significant progress in the last four months.

Sudan believes that the current circumstances do not allow for talks through normal diplomatic channels, he said, in reference to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that teleconferences are suitable means to complete negotiations and agree on outstanding issues.

Lead Sudanese negotiator Saleh Hamad said that most of the issues being negotiated are inextricably linked, not only to the first filling but to all phases of filling.

The statement on May 12 comes a day after Ethiopia announced it is to start filling its mega-dam in July, despite opposition from Egypt and Sudan as they stand by a 2015 declaration that stipulates an agreement on the guidelines governing the filling and annual operation of the dam should be reached.

Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies Khaled Okasha said the Sudanese move brings the matter to its proper path, which relies on cooperation and negotiation.

Mr.Okasha explained that Ethiopia took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to cancel all agreements, and according to point zero it was announced through its “populist” mechanisms that it pursued from the beginning.

Okasha has affirmed that the move by the Sudanese Prime Minister came after Ethiopia’s intentions to go on with the project solely without consulting with Khartoum and Cairo became clear, threatening the interests of both countries.

This is in addition to the dangers related to the safety requirements of the dam, which the Ethiopian side has been ignoring, constantly pushing for the filling stage with an aim to aid internal and political conflicts through the construction of the dam, completely disregarding the sovereignty and authentic rights of Egypt and Sudan.

He added that Ethiopia is also seeking from this to blame the issue on both Cairo and Khartoum, according to flawed and outdated Ethiopian theories that claim disagreements between Egypt and Sudan.

Okasha further stressed that the new Sudanese government is now correcting many of the faults of the previous regime, which had been performing in contradiction with the Sudanese national interests.

Neighbouring Sudan and Egypt dependent on Nile flow fear the dam will trap their essential water supplies once the giant reservoir starts being filled in July as planned.

Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion megaproject will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.

The dispute is over the Millenium Dam being built on the Blue Nile. Ethiopia announced it will begin part filling it in July this year in order to test two turbines next year during the rainy season. The dam is 71% complete and when finished in 2023 will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa providing much needed power to the second populous country on continent with 100 million inhabitants.

The reservoir will be able to hold more than 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) of water, but Egypt says if it operates according to Ethiopian intentions, 100 million Egyptians will then be deprived of much of their lifeline – the waters of the river.

COVID19: former Libya PM Jibril died

Libyan former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril died in the Egyptian capital Cairo from COVID-19 complications at the age of 68, al-Wasat news website reported on April 5.

Jibril actually died on Saturday late night, days after his infection with the novel coronavirus,” the source added.

The late Libyan official, whose death was officially announced on April 5, spent 10 days at an isolation hospital in Cairo before passing away, according to the diplomats.
Jibril was the head of the National Forces Alliance, a coalition of Libyan liberal parties formed in 2012, a year after the ouster and killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Egypt: Grand Museum opening postponed

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced postponement of the launch of mega-projects including the Grand Egyptian Museum and moving civil servants to a planned new capital city to 2021 from 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the presidency said on April 4.

The new Museum had been due to open later this year, while the first group of civil servants was to be transferred to the government district in the new administrative capital in June.

Sisi’s government said it wishes to start running Egypt from the new city, 45 km (28 miles) east of Cairo, as soon as the middle of 2020. But the $58 billion project has struggled to raise funds and faced other challenges after some investors pulled out.

Egypt has confirmed more than 1,000 infections with the coronavirus. The authorities have taken measures to combat the epidemic, such as a nationwide nighttime curfew and the closure of tourism facilities.

Michel discusses Libya with Al-Sisi

Charles Michel, President of the European Council met with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, in Cairo.

The crisis in Libya was at the core of their discussion. President Michel reiterated that a political process is the only way forward and the Libyans should be at the heart of defining their future. Both expressed support for the Berlin process and UN initiatives which are key to reaching a political solution.

MEPs condemn Egypt crackdown on protest

The European Parliament strongly condemns the latest state crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests, as well as the ongoing restrictions on fundamental rights in the country. Egyptian authorities have in the past weeks arbitrarily arrested over 4300 people who have been protesting against systemic corruption, repression and austerity measures, and have demanded the resignation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The European Parliament strongly condemns the latest state crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests, as well as the ongoing restrictions on fundamental rights in the country. Egyptian authorities have in the past weeks arbitrarily arrested over 4300 people who have been protesting against systemic corruption, repression and austerity measures, and have demanded the resignation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

MEPs call for an end to all acts of violence and intimidation, and the immediate release of all human rights defenders detained or sentenced for carrying out their legitimate work. They also express grave concern at the reprisals against those in Egypt who cooperate or seek to cooperate with international human rights organisations or the UN’s human rights bodies.

A profound review of the EU’s relations with Egypt is necessary, MEPs say. They argue that the human rights situation in the country requires a serious revision of the Commission’s budget support operations, which should be restricted to primarily support civil society. The full resolution, adopted by a show of hands, will be available here (24.10.2019).

MEPs call for an end to all acts of violence and intimidation, and the immediate release of all human rights defenders detained or sentenced for carrying out their legitimate work. They also express grave concern at the reprisals against those in Egypt who cooperate or seek to cooperate with international human rights organisations or the UN’s human rights bodies.

A profound review of the EU’s relations with Egypt is necessary, MEPs say. They argue that the human rights situation in the country requires a serious revision of the Commission’s budget support operations, which should be restricted to primarily support civil society. The full resolution, adopted by a show of hands, will be available here (24.10.2019).

EU stands by Egypt to defeat terrorism

“The European Union expresses its deepest condolences to the victims and their families and wishes a prompt recovery to those wounded in this act of terror”, the European External Action Service spokesperson said, reacting upon a car bomb explosion in Cairo on August 4, which has left at least 20 people dead, and many injured.

“The European Union stands side by side with Egypt in its efforts to defeat terrorism in the country”.

An explosion in Cairo was terrorist-related, Egypt‘s president Al Sisi said.

“I extend my deepest condolences to the Egyptian people and the families of the martyrs killed in the cowardly terrorist incident in the vicinity of the Kasr al-Aini area yesterday evening,” he wrote in his official social media account, paying tribute to victims.

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