Egypt PM calls for agreement on Ethiopian dam

Egypt PM calls for agreement on Ethiopian dam
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly. (AFP/File)
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Updated 19 October 2020

Egypt PM calls for agreement on Ethiopian dam

Egypt PM calls for agreement on Ethiopian dam
  • Madbouly stressed that the water axis is one of the most important pillars of Egyptian national security

CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed the necessity of reaching a binding legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in a manner that preserves common interests, noting Egypt’s keenness to continue negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia.

During the opening of Cairo Water Week 2020, the prime minister spoke of the importance of not taking any unilateral decisions that would negatively affect stability in the region.

Madbouly stressed that the water axis is one of the most important pillars of Egyptian national security. Comprehensive sustainable development plans in all fields are linked to the state's ability to provide the water resources for these plans.

He said that the state is striving to preserve water resources, maximizing the benefit from them and adopting an ambitious program to double the quantities of desalinated water used in the drinking water sector with investments amounting to EGP 135 billion ($8.6 billion) up to 2030.

He also referred to the establishment of the Al Mahsama Water Reclamation Plant in Ismailia saying that it is the best work of the year.

“Now, there are many upstream countries trying to extend their hegemony over the water basins of many rivers in the Arab world. This is in order to control water flows and harm the riparian downstream countries and form a political geography of river basins through the national interests of upstream countries that are not dependent on the downstream countries," Madbouly said.

The Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, said that Ethiopia is still taking a firm stance regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

He added that Ethiopia’s intransigence in the negotiations will represent a major challenge due to the lack of agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam, despite the support provided by Egypt for the concerns of the Ethiopian side.

Abdel-Aty said that Egypt sought, through the agreement of principles signed in Sudan in 2015, to reach a fair and balanced agreement that takes into account the interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, but Ethiopia had prevented that.

The dispute escalated, especially between Egypt and Ethiopia, months ago, with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announcing the start of filling the dam reservoir before the agreed date.


Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case
Updated 20 January 2021

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case

Istanbul court resumes trial of Turks in Ghosn escape case
  • Trial is trying to piece together the details of how former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in December 2019

ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court on Wednesday resumed the trial of seven Turkish suspects accused of helping smuggle former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn “in a large musical instrument case” from Japan to Lebanon.
The trial is trying to piece together the details of how Ghosn — a French-Lebanese-Brazilian national who was a global business superstar when his career came crashing to an end — fled Japan in December 2019 while out on bail facing financial misconduct charges.
The 66-year-old fugitive was arrested in November 2018 and spent 130 days in prison before completing an audacious escape act that humiliated Japanese justice officials and raised questions about who was involved.
The hearing concerns an employee with Turkey’s MNG Jet private airline who allegedly used four pilots and two flight attendants to move Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul.
The pilots and the MNG Jet employee are accused of “illegally smuggling a migrant” and face up to eight years in jail. A hearing in July released them on bail but barred them from leaving Turkey.
The two flight attendants are accused of failing to report a crime and face one-year sentences.
All seven suspects deny the charges.
The indictment says the escape plan from Japan to Lebanon involved a stopover in Istanbul instead of a direct flight “so as not to arouse suspicions.”
Former US Green Beret member Michael Taylor and his son Peter are accused together with Lebanese national George-Antoine Zayek of recruiting MNG Jet and overseeing the secret operation.
The Taylors are currently fighting extradition from the United States to Japan and the whereabouts of Zayek are unclear.
The indictment says Taylor and Zayek put Ghosn “in a large musical instrument case” and then took him through security at Japan’s Osaka airport.
They allegedly opened “70 holes at the bottom of the case for him to breathe easily.”
The indictment says the plane landed at Istanbul’s old Ataturk airport and parked near another plane bound for Beirut.
MNG Jet employee Okan Kosemen then allegedly jumped off the Osaka plane and boarded the one destined for Beirut together with Ghosn.
The indictment says Kosemen received several payments into his bank account totalling 216,800 euros and 66,990 dollars in the months before Ghosn’s flight.
He is also accused of being paid an unidentified amount after Ghosn’s arrival in Beirut.
Kosemen has denied being paid to help Ghosn escape while the pilots and flight attendants say they were unaware he was on board any of the plane’s flights.
MNG filed a complaint last year alleging its aircraft was used illegally.
It added at the time that one its employees had admitted to falsifying the flight manifest to keep Ghosn off the passenger list.