Dam discussion deadlock requires coordination, say Egyptian and Sudanese leaders

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi amd Sudanese leader Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan holding a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, on March. 6, 2021. (Presidency of Sudan via AP)
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi amd Sudanese leader Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan holding a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan, on March. 6, 2021. (Presidency of Sudan via AP)
Dam discussion deadlock requires coordination, say Egyptian and Sudanese leaders
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President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, left, meets with Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling Sovereign Council, at the presidential palace in Sudan. Sudan Sovereign Council via Reuters)
Dam discussion deadlock requires coordination, say Egyptian and Sudanese leaders
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Sovereign Council Chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan walks with President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, during a welcome ceremony in Khartoum, Sudan March 6, 2021. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 March 2021

Dam discussion deadlock requires coordination, say Egyptian and Sudanese leaders

Dam discussion deadlock requires coordination, say Egyptian and Sudanese leaders
  • El-Sisi discussed Sudan’s border dispute with Ethiopia and security in the Red Sea region
  • The visit came amid a rapprochement between the two governments

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visited Sudan on Saturday for the first time since the overthrow of former President Omar Bashir, as the neighbors push to break a deadlock over a multi-billion dollar dam being built by Ethiopia.

During his meeting in Khartoum with Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, El-Sisi said it was his firm belief that the security and stability of Sudan was an integral part of the security and stability of Egypt.

A statement from the Egyptian presidency reflected an agreement between El-Sisi and Al-Burhan that the current stage of the dam discussions required the highest levels of coordination between the two countries.

It said that Egypt supported the Sudanese proposal to form an international quartet, including the presidency of the African Union, the US, the EU and the UN, to mediate in the dam issue.

El-Sisi and Al-Burhan agreed to reject any unilateral measures aimed at monopolizing the resources of the Blue Nile.

Both leaders discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations at all levels, as well as several regional and international issues of common interest, especially developments in the situation in the Sudanese-Ethiopian border region, and the recent Sudanese moves to extend state sovereignty over its eastern borders bordering Ethiopia.

They also discussed developments in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. The discussions, according to the Egyptian presidency, reflected a mutual understanding about ways to deal with issues in a way that ensured the enhancement of African capabilities to face the challenges facing the continent as a whole.

Al-Burhan appreciated Egypt’s stance in support of Sudan to face the repercussions of various crises, as well as to contribute to removing Sudan's name from the US list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

He affirmed Sudan's aspiration and keenness to activate joint projects between Egypt and Sudan and to enhance the prospects for cooperation, especially at the political, economic, security and military levels.

El-Sisi confirmed Egypt's continued support for the government and people of Sudan, and interest in upgrading bilateral relations in a way that enhanced the strategic partnership based on mutual respect and cooperation for the benefit of the two countries.

There has been high-level diplomatic and military activity between the two countries in recent days. 

The Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Maryam Al-Mahdi met El-Sisi and her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Tuesday.

The Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Mohamed Farid concluded a two-day visit to Khartoum, during which an agreement was signed for cooperation in the fields of military training and coordination.

On Friday, the UN offered to help move forward the negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the GERD that Ethiopia is building 15 kilometers from the Sudanese border, at an estimated cost of $5 billion.

In a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, Shoukry “stressed the need to launch a serious and effective negotiation process” over the dam before a second round of filling expected this summer, Reuters news agency reported.

Ethiopia, which says it has every right to use Nile waters, started filling the reservoir behind the dam last summer after Egypt and Sudan failed to secure a legally binding agreement over the hydropower dam's operation.

Sudan fears the dam could increase the risk of flooding and affect the safe operation of its own Nile dams, while water-scarce Egypt fears its supplies from the Nile could be hit.

Years of diplomatic talks over the project have repeatedly stalled.


Egypt to avoid future water crises through investment, minister says

Egypt to avoid future water crises through investment, minister says
Updated 06 December 2021

Egypt to avoid future water crises through investment, minister says

Egypt to avoid future water crises through investment, minister says

CAIRO: Egypt will avoid water crises through investment and construction, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aty has said.

In a presentation of the ministry’s strategy through 2050, Abdel-Aty also denied the “black propaganda” which asserts that “Egypt takes the lion’s share of Nile water.”

He said: “97 percent of our water resources come from the Nile and the rest is low percentages of rain and other outlets. Everyone must be aware of the importance of preserving water.”

As part of state efforts to avoid future water crises, the 2017-2037 strategy requires $50 billion in investment and financing, he added, saying that due to population growth, that figure could exceed $100 billion over the coming decades.

Abdel-Aty said: “The new legislation for the Water Resources Law was very necessary, and the executive regulations for this law are being prepared, and they may be completed for issuance within two or three months.”

Egypt’s water needs exceed 114 billion cubic meters annually, according to ministry statistics. Total water resources accounting for reused water numbers 80 billion cubic meters per year, while the total amount of water from renewable resources measures 60 billion cubic meters.

The ministry’s strategy will involve four main areas: Rationalizing water use, improving water quality, providing additional water sources and creating a climate for optimal water management.

“There is no doubt that the water crisis will worsen with time, but the state will not allow a water crisis to occur in Egypt. We will contribute to raising awareness of the importance of rationalizing consumption. There is an optimal utilization of water resources,” Abdel-Aty said.

“We are facing black propaganda that Egypt takes the lion's share of the waters of the Nile, and this is not true.”

He added that Egypt’s climate means that it does not have sufficient access to green water, unlike Ethiopia. “They also have more blue water, and there are lakes in Ethiopia that contain 50 billion cubic meters of water.”

Abdel-Aty said: “Efforts made by the state on the issues of good water management and rationalization have not happened since the days of Muhammad Ali. The political leadership is keen to take all measures aimed at the good management of water resources.”


Arab coalition carries out biggest operation in Marib in 24 hours

Arab coalition carries out biggest operation in Marib in 24 hours
Updated 06 December 2021

Arab coalition carries out biggest operation in Marib in 24 hours

Arab coalition carries out biggest operation in Marib in 24 hours
  • Action comes as the Arab coalition forces have been eliminating militia assets in recent weeks

RIYADH: More than 280 Houthi militia members were killed in one of the largest operations targeting the Iran-backed group in Marib in just 24 hours, the Arab coalition said Monday. 
The Arab coalition said it conducted 47 operations against the Houthi militants in Marib, during which34 Houthi vehicles were destroyed as well as ammunition storage sites, Al Arabiya TV reported.  
The action comes as the Arab coalition forces have been eliminating militia assets in recent weeks, including weapons and personnel.


UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader
Updated 06 December 2021

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed meets with Iranian leader

TEHRAN: Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s National Security Adviser, met with Iranian president Ibrahim Raisi on Monday, state news agency WAM said in a report.
During the meeting, both sides discussed bilateral relations between the two nations and potential ways to enhance these ties. 
Al-Nahyan and Raisi also exchanged views on several issues of common interest.


Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh

Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh
Updated 06 December 2021

Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh

Four Iraqi Kurdish fighters killed in attack blamed on Daesh
  • Five other Peshmerga fighters were wounded in the violence late Sunday in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD: Four Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed in an attack blamed on the Daesh group, a security official said Monday, the third such assault in less than two weeks.
Five other Peshmerga fighters were wounded in the violence late Sunday in northern Iraq that targeted an outpost north of Kirkuk, the source said.
Kurdish army forces confirmed the deadly attack but did not say how Peshmerga fighters were killed in wounded, in a statement accusing Daesh of responsibility.
It was the third attack blamed on Daesh militants in less than two weeks against the Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.
On Thursday, Daesh claimed responsibility for an assault south of the Kurdish capital of Irbil that killed at least nine Peshmerga fighters and three civilians.
At the end of November, five Peshmergas were killed in a roadside bombing also claimed by the militant group.
Daesh seized swathes of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.
The Iraqi government declared the extremists defeated in late 2017, although the Daesh retains sleeper cells which still strike security forces with hit-and-run attacks.


Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead

Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead
Updated 06 December 2021

Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead

Israel: Palestinian car-rammer wounds guard, is shot dead
  • Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing, car-ramming and occasional shooting attacks in recent years
  • Most have been carried out by lone attackers with no known connection to militant groups

JERUSALEM: A 16-year-old Palestinian rammed a vehicle into an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank overnight, wounding a security guard before being shot and “neutralized” at the scene, the Israeli Defense Ministry said Monday.
Israeli media reported that the alleged attacker was killed, while a ministry official declined to comment further.
The attack came two days after a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank stabbed and wounded an Israeli man just outside Jerusalem’s Old City and tried to stab a Border Police officer before being shot and killed. Video taken by bystanders showed the police continuing to shoot the attacker after he had dropped to the ground and preventing medics from approaching him.
The shooting drew comparisons to a 2016 incident in which an Israeli soldier was caught on camera shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground. The soldier was imprisoned for several months in a case that divided the country.
The Israeli Justice Ministry said the two officers involved in Saturday’s shooting were brought in for questioning before being released without conditions. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other top officials have praised the officers’ response to the attack.
Palestinians have carried out dozens of stabbing, car-ramming and occasional shooting attacks in recent years. Most have been carried out by lone attackers with no known connection to militant groups, which have praised the attacks without claiming responsibility for them.
Rights groups say Israel sometimes uses excessive force, killing suspected attackers who could have been arrested and did not pose an immediate threat. Israeli officials say forces must make split-second decisions in dangerous situations and that all such incidents are investigated.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. The territory’s 2.5 million Palestinian residents live under Israeli military rule, with the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority administering cities and towns.