African mini-summit on Renaissance Dam slated for Tuesday

African mini-summit on Renaissance Dam slated for Tuesday
Sudan has confirmed that its PM has received an invitation from the chair of the AU to participate in a mini-African summit on Tuesday. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 18 July 2020

African mini-summit on Renaissance Dam slated for Tuesday

African mini-summit on Renaissance Dam slated for Tuesday
  • El-Sisi reportedly rejected any unilateral measures that would harm Egypt’s rights to the waters of the Nile
  • The dam, which sits on the Nile’s main tributary, the Blue Nile, is upstream of Egypt

CAIRO: Sudan has confirmed that its Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has received an invitation from the chair of the African Union (AU), the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, to participate in a mini-African summit on Tuesday to discuss the Renaissance Dam project. Egypt and Ethiopia have not announced whether they will participate.
Official Egyptian sources told Arab News that Egypt had received an invitation to hold the mini-summit in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the prime ministers of Egypt and Sudan in a phone call between the president and Ramaphosa.
El-Sisi reportedly rejected any unilateral measures that would harm Egypt’s rights to the waters of the Nile, and called for a comprehensive legal agreement between all parties involved in the operation of the dam.
Ramaphosa praised what he said was the constructive approach taken by Egypt during the recent round of negotiations on the dam under the auspices of the AU, which, he added, reflected Egypt’s sincere will to reach a solution to the crisis.
The dam, which sits on the Nile’s main tributary, the Blue Nile, is upstream of Egypt and has the potential to control the flow of water that the country almost entirely relies on.
It also will be, when fully operational, the largest hydro-electric plant in Africa, and is projected to provide power to 65 million Ethiopians, who currently lack a regular electricity supply.
Sudan could also be affected by the dam and is playing a mediating role.
Previous rounds of negotiations between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have failed to overcome the points of disagreement in the legal and technical aspects of the dam, and have raised fears concerning its impact on the water supply downstream.
Cairo and Khartoum are seeking to reach a legally binding agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam before Addis Ababa begins filling the reservoir. Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly said they would reject any unilateral Ethiopian measures before a comprehensive agreement on the points of disagreement was reached.
The regional director of water resources at the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe, Khaled Abu Zaid, said he believed that if Egypt attended the African mini-summit, it would be beneficial.
“Reaching a solution in the Renaissance Dam negotiations is easy, but Ethiopia continues to delay finding a solution. The biggest impediment is the filling and operating rules of the dam,” Abu Zaid said.
He added that the livestock of Ethiopia consumes more water than the total water share of Egypt and Sudan combined. Any disruption in the drainage of the dam, or the occurrence of a collapse, would seriously harm Sudan first, then Egypt, Abu Zaid said.
The political director of EXX Africa, Robert Besseling, told Bloomberg: “There is no urgent danger forcing Egypt to respond in a more aggressive way today because it will take the Renaissance Dam reservoir over five years to fill up. The risk for Egypt will start two years from now when its water flow weakens.”


Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference

Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference
Updated 28 min 5 sec ago

Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference

Egypt: Iranian nuclear issue should be linked to its regional interference

CAIRO: Egypt believes that the Iranian nuclear issue is not the only problem with regard to Iran and its position in the region, according to Motaz Zahran, Cairo’s ambassador in Washington. Tehran’s interference and its efforts to destroy the assets of Arab countries throughout the region is another issue that must be confronted, he said.
Zahran said in a virtual interview with the National Council for US-Arab Relations that there is an opportunity for cooperation with the new US administration in light of the Iranian interference in various conflicts in the region, whether in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or Yemen, which led to the deepening of their problems.
“The Iranian nuclear issue should not be dealt with separately from Iranian interference in all regional conflicts, and there are discussions between Egypt and the US regarding Iran, with the Republicans and the Democrats,” he added.
The ambassador said Egypt believes that there should not be any unilateral move on the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He saw a need for the new US administration to play a constructive role in resolving the dam dispute.
There are, he said, many opportunities for cooperation between Egypt and the US in various fields under the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The meeting was moderated by Ed Royce, former US representative, who chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Answering a question on the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6, Zahran said it was sad and shocking for Egypt and the whole world, and he linked what happened in America to what Egypt witnessed when some extremist groups — mainly the Muslim Brotherhood — took advantage of large-scale demonstrations and turned them into violent protests.
He pointed out that in both nations there was a widespread national desire for unity among the people which followed the state of chaos. There are some lessons to be learned, the most important of which is that rights and freedoms, in general, are not absolute, but are linked to guaranteeing others’ rights, as well as achieving order, security and public peace.