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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Shoukry calls for Russian mediation on GERD ahead of El Sisi’s meeting with Abiy Ahmed

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are set to meet on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit this week to discuss the impasse over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Echoing Egypt’s request for international mediation, an editorial in the National yesterday calls on the two sides to work with allies to resolve the dispute and avoid a “potentially catastrophic” escalation. Ethiopia has so far rejected proposals to bring in a mediator.

FM says Russia could help with GERD: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told RIA Novosti news agency yesterday that Russia could be the country to step in and help mediate the dispute due to its good relations with all three countries involved. Ittihadiya spokesman Bassem Rady previously said that it was hoped that the US would play an “instrumental role” in solving the dispute.

What the foreign press is saying about the summit: Reuters and the Associated Press are out with articles framing the summit in terms of great-power politics. The two-day event, which kicks-off in Sochi tomorrow, is a vehicle for Russia to step up economic and military ties with African states in a bid to compete with its Western rivals and China, they suggest. “For Moscow, the prize is greater political influence on a continent with 54 United Nations member states, sprawling mineral wealth, and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons,” Tom Balmforth and Andrew Osborn write for Reuters. Cara Anna highlights in the AP the US’ dwindling engagement with the continent, a policy decision on which Russia is trying to capitalize.

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