Panel Discussion About “Developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) File”
The Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) hosted a panel discussion on “Developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dossier” on March 18, 2020 at its headquarters. A number of ambassadors and experts concerned with the Renaissance Dam dossier, the Nile Basin and Africa participated in the panel discussion. The participants were Their Excellencies Ambassadors: Dr. Mounir Zahran, Chairman of the Council; Dr. Ezzat Saad, Director of the Council; Ahmed Hajjaj; Ali El-Hefny; Mohamed Hegazy; Marwan Badr; Salah Halima; and Yasser Sorour, Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Nile Basin Countries; as well as Eng. Luay Seif El-Din, from the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI); and Dr. Hazem Ateyyatallah, Treasurer of the Council.
The panel discussion was started by emphasizing the importance of addressing the developments of this dossier, particularly after Ethiopia has refused to initial the draft agreement that was reached in Washington, DC, on February 28, which was attended and sponsored by the United States and the World Bank; thus insisting to impose a fait accompli by starting to fill the dam (GERD) in July 2020, before signing an agreement that takes into account the interests of all parties.
In this context, the attendees valued the foreign tours that were conducted by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry at the time to clarify the Egyptian stance towards the dam (GERD) and to warn of its dangers, expressing their hopes that these rounds would succeed in gathering the international momentum necessary to exert pressure on Ethiopia to sign and abide by the draft agreement, and realize the importance of feeling a responsibility to reach a final agreement before filling the Ethiopian dam (GERD) to avoid any risks and threats.
The panel discussion was concluded by recommending: The necessity for Egypt to uphold the agreement concluded by the Washington negotiations that Egypt has initialed on the basis of its being fair, balanced and achieving Egyptian interests. And to Confront and reject any Ethiopian attempts to create alternatives to the Washington agreement, under the pretext of solving African problems within the African framework. Furthermore, considering the possibility of moving on the African track within the framework of the AU Troika, and perhaps approaching the US side to call for holding a summit in Washington for the three countries or the countries directly concerned with the dispute, within the framework of what has been stipulated in Article 10 of the Declaration of Principles, in order to contain the Ethiopian position. Moreover, conducting extensive communication with countries cooperating with Ethiopia to build the dam (GERD); especially China, Italy, Germany and Israel; in order to inform them of the facts of the Egyptian position and the bad intentions of the Ethiopian side from the beginning.