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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Egypt receives Ethiopia’s five-year plan to fill GERD reservoir?

Egypt has reportedly received Ethiopia’s official five-year plan for filling the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, GERD tripartite committee member Gedion Asfaw tells Al Shorouk. The plan includes a number of scenarios that Egypt can choose to adopt during that period, he says without elaborating, adding only that further negotiations are in order to reach a final decision. News reports had suggested this week that one scenario could see Egypt temporarily reduce cultivation of water-intensive crops while Ethiopia filled up the reservoir and reimbursed Cairo for the cost of additional imports. The real details, however, remain unclear.

Ethiopia’s plan did not get Cairo’s sign off as it violates the agreement it signed with Egypt and Sudan about sharing the Nile water, an unnamed Egyptian official tells the newspaper, explaining that the three countries had agreed the reservoir would not be filled until they reached consensus on GERD’s environmental impact. Negotiations over the dam reached a stalemate last year when Ethiopia and Sudan refused to recognize the results of an environmental impact study that found that GERD would severely cut into Egypt’s Nile water supply. Just as they were about to resume, talks were once again postponed after Hailemariam Desalegn resigned as Ethiopia’s prime minister in an unexpected move that left Egyptian officials worried Addis Ababa could would change its negotiating position. Egypt is pushing to restart talks as soon as possible, according to the official.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called newly-elevate South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to congratulate him and express hope for increased cooperation, according to an official statement from the presidential spokesman.

The trade ministries of Egypt and Nigeria will soon sign an MoU to form a joint business council, Egypt’s Trade and Industry Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The announcement came after Minister Tarek Kabil met with his Nigerian counterpart Aisha Abubakr, who is currently visiting Cairo.

A Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh returned to Gaza yesterday after concluding a short visit to Cairo for talks, Al Masry Al Youm reports. This comes a day after an Egyptian security delegation met with Hamas’ top official in Gaza, Yehia Sinwar, in Gaza, according to Al Shorouk.

The Arab Quartet slammed Qatar for trying to “falsely market” their ongoing dispute as a major international crisis and accused Doha’s foreign minister of delivering a “fallacious” speech to the UN Human Rights Council, according to a joint statement.

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