Egypt: Ethiopia has delayed reaching agreement on the GERD

Egypt: Ethiopia has delayed reaching agreement on the GERD
Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia, September 26, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 25 January 2021

Egypt: Ethiopia has delayed reaching agreement on the GERD

Egypt: Ethiopia has delayed reaching agreement on the GERD
  • Egyptian irrigation and water resources minister criticizes Ethiopian stubbornness in Renaissance Dam negotiations
  • Ethiopia has announced the completion of 76.3 percent of the dam, stressing that it is aiming for development without harming the downstream countries

CAIRO: The Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati has accused Ethiopia of being responsible for the paused negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the failure to reach an agreement.

The minister told the Egyptian parliament that “there is stubbornness on the Ethiopian side in the Renaissance Dam negotiations issue. It retreats from the terms that were agreed upon.”

He said that the GERD delay is a problem for the Egyptian state, noting that the Ministry of Irrigation works on the technical side of the dam, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handles political and legal aspects.

Abdel-Ati said that the US mediating side initially assisted in a draft agreement, which Egypt signed, but Ethiopia rejected the draft.

“Four meetings were held under the auspices of the African Union and five six-way meetings, in the presence of the ministers of irrigation and foreign affairs, and no agreement was reached,” he added.

Abdel-Ati noted that Egypt had responded to the initiative of the Sudanese prime minister, and many tripartite meetings were held, but they did not result in any progress.

The Sudanese Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Yasser Abbas confirmed that there is a direct threat from the GERD to the Rossiris Dam, whose storage capacity is less than 10 percent of the Renaissance Dam’s capacity.

Abbas’ statements came during Khartoum meetings organized by the Ministry for Foreign Ambassadors to explain Sudan’s position on the Renaissance Dam.

Abbas stressed that this vicious cycle of talks cannot be continued indefinitely.

Less than six months remain before Ethiopia begins implementing its plan to start the second filling of the GERD next July, even without an agreement or daily exchange of data with Sudan.

Abbas said: “And because war is not an option, the Sudanese side started from an early stage a diplomatic move to put the international community before its responsibility from the Ethiopian threat and its threat to the lives of half of Sudan’s population on the Blue Nile.”

The minister sent a special message to Ethiopia that Sudan would not allow the filling and operating of the dam without a binding legal agreement that would secure the safety of its facilities and the lives of the Sudanese.

In recent years, Egypt and Sudan — the two downstream countries — fought negotiations with Ethiopia, the upstream country, to agree on the GERD that Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, with Cairo and Khartoum fearing its negative effects.

The negotiations have stalled on several occasions, with the most-recent meeting at the end of last year. It remains unclear how to resolve the GERD issue, which presents the three countries with a national security issue.

Recently, Ethiopia announced the completion of 76.3 percent of the dam, stressing that it is aiming for development without harming the downstream countries.


Hamas rejects PA’s call for Palestinian local elections

Hamas rejects PA’s call for Palestinian local elections
Updated 7 sec ago

Hamas rejects PA’s call for Palestinian local elections

Hamas rejects PA’s call for Palestinian local elections
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, said Wednesday it would not participate in municipal Palestinians elections set by the Palestinian Authority for December unless a general election is also called.
Hamas is a long-standing rival of the PA, based in the occupied West Bank, and had supported the decision to hold Palestinian legislative and presidential elections in May and July.
But president Mahmud Abbas in April indefinitely postponed those votes, which would have been the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.
Abbas cited Israel’s refusal to guarantee voting in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital.
But Palestinian experts said Abbas balked out of fear that Hamas would sweep the polls, in a repeat of 2006 results that the president’s Fatah movement did not accept.
Hamas, which was furious by Abbas’s general election postponement, said Wednesday that it “would not be part of... fragmented municipal elections.”
“The right solution is to hold comprehensive elections” for the Palestinian presidency, Palestinian legislative council, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), municipal bodies and trade and student unions, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told reporters.
Those votes could happen “simultaneously or according to a nationally agreed timetable,” he said.
“If that is plan, we are ready to participate.”
The municipal elections called by the PA would take place in 387 localities throughout the West Bank and Gaza on December 11, and then in 90 other places at a later date that has yet to be set.
Of the 477 voting sites, just 11 were in Gaza.
Hamas’s rejection of the process would make voting impossible in Gaza, an Israeli-blockaded territory controlled by the Islamists since 2007.
Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union but is seeking to bolster its legitimacy through election wins and by joining the PLO, a group of Palestinians factions recognized by Israel and the international community.

Tunisia president takes new powers, says will reform system

Tunisia president takes new powers, says will reform system
Updated 22 September 2021

Tunisia president takes new powers, says will reform system

Tunisia president takes new powers, says will reform system

TUNIS: Tunisian President Kais Saied has put in place special measures for wielding legislative and executive power, the presidency said on Wednesday, without elaborating.
It added that Saied would form a committee to prepare amendments to Tunisia's political system and that he would maintain the suspension of parliament that he declared in July.

More to follow...


Jordan’s King Abdullah urges world to work together to resolve Palestine-Israel conflict 

Jordan’s King Abdullah urges world to work together to resolve Palestine-Israel conflict 
Updated 38 min 44 sec ago

Jordan’s King Abdullah urges world to work together to resolve Palestine-Israel conflict 

Jordan’s King Abdullah urges world to work together to resolve Palestine-Israel conflict 
  • King Abdullah also called for an international effort to help the Lebanese people recover from the humanitarian and economic crises in the country
  • In his address to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, he asked for more global action to help refugees and to tackle the effects of the climate crisis

NEW YORK: A global partnership is critical to the efforts to resolve the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, Jordan’s King Abdullah II told his fellow world leaders on Wednesday.

In a prerecorded message on the second day of the high-level Annual General Debate at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, he said the recent war on Gaza was a reminder that the status quo in the Palestinian territories is untenable.

He also highlighted the critical role of the UN’s Refugees and Works Agency in providing life-saving assistance to 5.7 million Palestinian refugees suffering as a result of what he described as “one of the longest-standing conflicts in modern history.”

“How many more homes will be lost?” the king asked. “How many more children die before the world wakes up?”

He added that the key to “genuine security” for both sides is a two-state solution that leads to the establishment of an “independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state” where Palestinians can live “side-by-side with Israel in peace and security,” based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“Jerusalem is at the heart of this peace,” said King Abdullah. “Billions of people around the world hold this holy city dear.

“I believe Jerusalem’s holiness to Muslims, Christians and Jews can, and must, bring us together. With international help, the Holy City can be not a cause of division but a symbol of unity for all to see.”

He vowed that his country will continue to work to preserve the legal status quo of Jerusalem and its holy sites under Hashemite custodianship.

The king also talked about Lebanon, where a dire humanitarian and economic catastrophe has left millions living in despair and “family tables without food.”

He called on the global community to work together to develop a “well-planned, well-executed international response.”

“In this time of great need, we owe the Lebanese people our full support to enable them to rise from this crisis,” he added.

In addition, he called on the international community not to forget the millions of refugees in need around the world or the countries that host them, including Lebanon.


Morocco: 3 parties agree to form new coalition government

Morocco: 3 parties agree to form new coalition government
Updated 22 September 2021

Morocco: 3 parties agree to form new coalition government

Morocco: 3 parties agree to form new coalition government
  • King Mohammed VI appointed billionaire Aziz Akhanouch as prime minister earlier this month
  • A former agriculture minister, Akhanouch is one of Morocco’s richest men

RABAT: Morocco’s prime minister-designate announced Wednesday that a three-party coalition will form the country’s next government.
King Mohammed VI appointed billionaire Aziz Akhanouch as prime minister earlier this month after his party placed first in a legislative election, netting 102 out of the 395 seats in the lower house of parliament.
The coalition includes Akhanouch’s liberal National Rally of Independents Party, or RNI, the Authenticity and Modernity party (PAM) and the conservative Istiqlal (IP).
Formed in 2008 by Fouad Ali El Hima, a personal friend of the king and one of his close advisers, PAM has never before been part of a Moroccan government.
The Istiqlal Party is Morocco’s oldest party and has participated in several governments since the kingdom gained independence from France in 1956.
The three parties together won 270 seats in the House of Representatives, giving the coalition government a comfortable majority to pass laws.
“We will work together to form an effective and coherent majority before presenting the government lineup to King Mohammed VI,” Akhanouch said during a press conference. “We share many historical backgrounds and we intersect in a number of priorities.”
A former agriculture minister, Akhanouch is one of Morocco’s richest men.
He replaces Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani, whose Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) suffered a stinging a defeat in the Sept. 8 election. The party, which has been in power since 2011, secured only 13 parliament seats, down from 125 in the 2016 election.
The PJD’s leadership resigned en masse after this month’s elections and said the party would join the opposition ranks.
In a statement, the moderate Islamist party alleged “many violations and imbalances witnessed” during the elections,” adding that “the results do not reflect the reality of the political map and the free will of the voters.”


Arab coalition: We received no information from UN over Shabwa airstrike claim

Arab coalition: We received no information from UN over Shabwa airstrike claim
Updated 22 September 2021

Arab coalition: We received no information from UN over Shabwa airstrike claim

Arab coalition: We received no information from UN over Shabwa airstrike claim
  • The spokesman said the coalition applies the highest standards of targeting in its military operations

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said on Wednesday it has not received any information from the United Nations about an allegation that six civilians were killed in an airstrike in Yemen.
The UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Sunday that the UN was concerned about a reported airstrike by the coalition in Shabwa that allegedly killed six civilians from the same family.
The comments were made within a statement strongly condemning the Houthi militia for executing nine people on Saturday.
Spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki said he “deeply regretted” the UN’s decision to issue the statement linking the airstrike claim with the Houthi executions.
He said the coalition has followed up on Dujarric’s statement about the alleged Shabwa airstrike and “accordingly, the coalition confirms that it did not receive any coordination or information from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen about this claim, as is customary in the coordination mechanism and in such cases.”
He said the coalition is seriously looking into the allegation and taking the necessary measures to verify the accounts. The issue has been referred to the Joint Incidents Assessment Team, which will announce the results, he said.
Al-Maliki said the coalition applies the highest standards of targeting in its military operations in accordance with international humanitarian law, and applies the best international practices in rules of engagement.
He said there had not been any claims of incidents during the past 14 months, which showed the coalition was taking all necessary measures to spare civilians from collateral damage.
The coalition, he said, was exercising the highest degree of restraint while the Houthi militia launched hundreds of ballistic missiles and explosive-laden drones at civilian targets in populated cities in Saudi Arabia. He added they have not even targeted Houthi capabilities and terrorist leaders after the militia used civilians as human shields.