Egypt expressed concern regarding the recent statements of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to the state-run Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zaid.
On Sunday, Desalegn announced his rejection for the Egyptian call for World Bank arbitration in the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the dam.
“Seeking professional support is one thing; transferring (arbitration) to an institution is another thing. So we told them [Egyptians] that this is not acceptable with our side,” ENA quoted Hailemariam as saying. The statements came just a few days after Desalegn’s return to Ethiopia after a short visit to Egypt.
During his meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo on Thursday, Desalegn stressed his country’s commitment to working with the technical team regarding the GERD, asserting that Ethiopia understands Egypt’s concerns over the GERD, which he stressed will not affect Egypt’s water security.
Abu Zaid said, during a phone call to the ON E television station on Sunday, that the discussions in the frame of the technical committee are not for political interpretation. He added that Egypt was interested in the World Bank arbitration in the issue as a neutral party that has previous experience in such projects.
The most concerning thing in the statements is that it encroaches on the upcoming trilateral meeting between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, which is set to be held in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the African summit, said Abu Zaid.
He also said that Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has conducted a phone call to his Ethiopian counterpart to ask about the reason behind the statements and to express Egypt’s concerns.