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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Turkey could hand over Egyptian fugitives + UN Security Council speaks on GERD

Turkey could soon hand over Egyptian fugitives amid attempts to mend ties: Turkey has agreed in principle to extradite at least 20 people suspected of involvement in terror attacks in Egypt, the National reports citing Egyptian security sources. In return, the sources said Egypt would consider clamping down on the activities in Egypt of exiled US-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara has accused of attempting to force a 2016 coup.

Turkey really wants us to be friends: The move comes as Turkey looks to mend an almost decade-long rift with Egypt. But after a second round of talks aimed at normalizing relations last week ended seemingly without concrete progress, both Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that Turkey needs to fulfil certain requirements before diplomatic ties can be restored. If Turkey agrees to Egypt’s demands to withdraw from Libya and end its “foreign interference,” Madbouly this week said that the two countries could potentially restore diplomatic ties before the end of the year.

UN Security Council politely declines to weigh in on GERD: As expected, the UN Security Council has issued a vanilla statement on the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), urging Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to return to the negotiating table under the auspices of the African Union (AU). The statement is more or less a repeat of what the council said when it laid out a neutral stance on the conflict and backed the AU process in July, despite concerted lobbying by Egypt and Sudan for a stronger stance against Ethiopia, which over the summer completed a second filling of the dam’s reservoir.

GERD talks remain gridlocked: Sudan and Egypt have long lost faith in the AU as a mediator and have been trying to persuade a new mediator to enter the fray. Ethiopia has refused to accept a new process and wants to continue with the current format. We can consider this the UNSC’s last word on the topic unless the situation changes drastically: as the council’s Indian representative put it, “as a general rule, transboundary water issues do not belong on the council’s agenda.”

Egypt acknowledged the UNSC statement: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said that the release showed the special importance that UNSC members attach to the GERD issue.

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