Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry headed to New York, on Sunday, in preparation for the scheduled session of the United Nations (UN) Security Council to address the disputed Ethiopian dam.
The meeting will be held on Thursday upon the request of Egypt and Sudan.
Ahmed Hafez, Spokesperson for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Shoukry is also scheduled to hold a series of meetings with his international counterparts, permanent delegates to the UN Security Council, and UN officials.
This will allow him the opportunity to explain Egypt’s firm position on the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is based on reaching a legally binding agreement on filling and operating the dam.
The agreement would occur in a manner that takes into account the interests of the three countries involved, namely Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and preserves Egypt’s rights and water interests.
On Saturday, Shoukry confirmed that Egypt has all means to protect its national security, and has the determination and ability to defend its water interests.
He added that Cairo expects an additional effort from the UN Security Council to push the GERD parties to resume negotiations. This takes into consideration that there are conflicting interests within the council, and that some of its members are reluctant to discuss water issues.
The minister pointed out that Ethiopia has yet to complete the dam’s construction as planned, and that Egypt believes the second filling of the dam cannot be completely carried out.
Moreover, Khartoum welcomed the response of the President of the UN Security Council to its request to hold a session to discuss the dispute over the GERD.
Meanwhile, General Asrat Denero, the military commander in Ethiopia’s Metekel region where the GERD is located, said that Ethiopian forces are on high alert to complete the second phase of the dam’s filling.
He added that the Ethiopian people are closely watching the stages of the dam’s construction, and are waiting for its completion at full speed without hindrances.
Denero also noted that this calls for strengthening the mission of the army to ensure the security and safety of the region.
Moreover, the Ethiopian Ambassador to Sudan Yibeltal Aemero Alemu said, in a press conference, that the project initially started as a development issue. It has since, however, turned into a political issue, adding that Ethiopia will not harm Sudan.
He added that the second filling of GERD could not be stopped, and that the legally binding agreement requested by Egypt and Sudan aims to deprive Ethiopia of benefiting from River Nile waters.