Iran-Qatar alliance deepens, says Iranian naval official

File photo showing Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri. (MEHR)
Updated 14 March 2018

Iran-Qatar alliance deepens, says Iranian naval official

LONDON: Qatar is once again seen as veering further toward Iran as the regime in Tehran this week announced its support for the Qatari government, according to media reports.
The Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri, who visited Doha has said Iran is “supportive” of Qatar’s government and citizens, UAE-based the National newspaper reported.
The “ground is ready for development of co-operation with Qatar and we are doing our best to have stronger relations with Doha,” the Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ told Iran’s news agency IRNA on Tuesday. The Revolutionary Guard is the primary force behind Iranian military presence in Syria, supporting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, while Qatar continues to support Syrian opposition.

Iran and Qatar restored full diplomatic relations last summer in defiance of the 13 demands put forward by the Arab quartet comprised of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain – including curbing ties with Iran and closing its diplomatic missions there. The Arab Quartet have voiced concerns about Iran’s military actions in Syria, Yemen and other parts of the Arab world.

The quartet has also demanded that Doha sever all ties to “terrorist organization”, specifically Daesh and Lebanon’s Hezbollah and shut down state owned Al Jazeera, which the quartet says provides a platform for extremists and dissidents.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut transport and diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017 over accusation of its support for extremist groups and interference in the affairs of other countries. Doha denies all allegations.


Egypt to press for outside mediator in Ethiopia dam dispute

Updated 20 October 2019

Egypt to press for outside mediator in Ethiopia dam dispute

  • Egyptian officials said they had suggested the World Bank as a fourth party mediator
  • Ethiopia has denied that three-way talks are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process

CAIRO: Egypt will push Ethiopia this week to agree to an external mediator to help resolve a deepening dispute over a giant hydropower dam being built on Ethiopia's Blue Nile, officials said on Sunday.
Egypt sees the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as an existential risk, fearing it will threaten scarce water supplies in Egypt and power generation at its own dam in Aswan.
Cairo says it has exhausted efforts to reach an agreement on the conditions for operating GERD and filling the reservoir behind it, after years of three-party talks with Ethiopia and Sudan.
Ethiopia has denied that three-way talks are stalled, accusing Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to raise the demand for a mediator when he meets Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a Russian-African summit in Russia this week.
"We're hoping this meeting might produce an agreement on the participation of a fourth party," an Egyptian foreign ministry official told journalists at a briefing. "We're hopeful to reach a formula in the next few weeks."
Egyptian officials said they had suggested the World Bank as a fourth party mediator, but were also open to the role being filled by a country with technical experience on water sharing issues such as the United States, or the European Union.
Recent proposals put forward by Egypt for a flexible reservoir-filling process and a guaranteed annual flow of 40 billion cubic metres were rejected by Ethiopia.
The latest rounds of talks in Cairo and Khartoum over the past two months ended in acrimony. "The gap is getting wider," the Egyptian foreign ministry official said.
Egypt draws almost all of its fresh water supplies from the Nile, and is faced with worsening water scarcity for its population of nearly 100 million. It says it is working to reduce the amount of water used in agriculture.
Hydrologists consider a country to be facing water scarcity if supplies drop below 1,000 cubic metres per person per year.
Egypt currently has around 570 cubic metres per person per year, a figure that is expected to drop to 500 cubic metres by 2025, without taking into account any reduction in supply caused by GERD, Egyptian officials said.
Ethiopia is expected to start filling the GERD reservoir next year.