he capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kinshasa will host a new round of negotiations over Ethiopia’s Nile dam on Saturday.
The talks held at invitation by DRC, the current chair of the African Union, will bring together the foreign and irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aaty headed to Kinshasa on Friday.
The 3-day talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), come after a 3-month hiatus.
Egypt aims for a serious and effective negotiation process to reach a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the dam, according to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
Meanwhile, Sudan announced its participation in this round to determine the negotiating methodology and ensure constructive negotiations.
Sudan will also affirm its adherence to the necessity of seeking quadripartite international mediation that includes the European Union(EU), the United Nations(UN), and the United States of America(US).
This quartet will work under the leadership of the African Union, to help the three parties to reach a binding legal agreement on filling and operating the Nile dam that addresses the interests of all parties. This comes after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi assertion on Tuesday that Egypt will allow no one to take a single drop of its water, “and no one is untouchable for us.”
Al-Sisi said, “I always underscore that negotiation is our first option from the beginning. Any hostile action is ugly and it will have an enormous effect on the region’s stability.”
The President explained that Egypt chose to pursue the negotiation path, and asserted that it does not look for anything outside the international law.
He reiterated that Egypt does not threaten anyone, and it only adopts reasonable and rational dialogue.
President Al-Sisi said that if any external actors took even one drop of Egyptian water, there will be inconceivable instability in the entire region. He added that it is not beyond Egypt’s capacities to take action should its water be taken.
“If anyone affects Egypt’s water rights, they will see our reaction. Again, I am not threatening, but our water is a red line,” he stressed.
Earlier on Friday, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Damaki Mekonnen confirmed that “Addis Ababa is currently moving towards completing the final stages of the construction process of the (GERD).”
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the start of the dam, McKinnon said that the completion of the construction of the “GERD” is a top priority due to its historical and economic importance.
The Ethiopian official stressed, “Addis Ababa’s adherence to benefiting from the Dam project and taking into account the concerns of the two downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan), and the commitment not to cause any harm to them.”
Since January 11, negotiations have been facing a deadlock after the three countries reached a dead end over how to fill and operate the dam. But Sudan recently proposed quadripartite international mediation in the file, supported by Egypt, while Addis Ababa adheres to the mediation of the African Union only.