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Thursday, 25 June 2020

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry talks Egypt’s foreign policy developments on the airwaves

It was a relatively quiet night on the airwaves, save for Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s phone-in to Yahduth fi Misr to talk about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations and the situation in Libya.

Egypt’s efforts to reach a political resolution in Libya, which culminated in the announcement of the Cairo Declaration earlier this month, has earned wide international backing, Shoukry said. The minister stressed that Egypt would like to see both Libyan parties coming together at the negotiating table to agree on the road ahead.

The UN Security Council is not meant to entangle itself in the technical details of GERD, such as the timeline for filling the dam’s reservoir, but will act as an authority figure of sorts to ensure Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia each do their part in the ongoing negotiations and don’t take unilateral action. Shoukry warned that Egypt will not continue to entertain “endless” negotiations over the dam, in which it has already invested plenty of time (watch, runtime: 18:52). President Abdel Fattah El Sisi also reiterated yesterday that Egypt would like to reach a diplomatic solution to the dam dispute, Masaa DMC’s Ramy Radwan noted (watch, runtime: 1: 48).

Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty also gave Amer a recap of the GERD negotiations so far, pointing out that disagreements over the technical parts of the dam led to a standstill in the talks. Abdel Aty reiterated that Egypt is more than willing to engage in more talks if Ethiopia signals its intention to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on these issues and on a mechanism to resolve potential disputes down the line (watch, runtime: 10:28).

Radwan noted that Sudan also wants to hammer out an agreement with Egypt and Ethiopia, with Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas calling for a legally binding accord. Abbas also said yesterday that Khartoum is preparing its own policy letter on the GERD issue to submit to the Security Council (watch, runtime: 2:46).

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