Egypt’s Shoukry and Tunisian President Kais Saied discuss GERD last developments

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Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Tunisia on Thursday to hand over a message from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, the Egyptian presidency announced. Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi received Shoukry upon his arrival in the capital Tunis, the last leg of his African tour, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez wrote on Twitter.

According to the Egyptian daily Al Ahram, Cairo’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday delivered a message from President Abdel Fatah al Sisi to Tunisia’s head of state Kais Saied to explain Egypt’s position on recent developments in stalled negotiations on the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) made by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile.

Hafez stressed that Shoukry presented a comprehensive review of the Kinshasa meetings regarding the Ethiopian dam. He highlighted Egypt’s position during these meetings and the sincere will it showed to solve the crisis and reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Dam, in a manner that preserves the rights of the three involved countries, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

During his visit to Tunisia, the seventh and final stop on Shoukry’s tour in Africa, the head of Egyptian diplomacy had an interview with his Tunisian counterpart Othman Jerandi. Tunisia already expressed its support for Egypt’s positions on the Gerd dam dossier last week as part of President Saied’s visit to Cairo. Before Tunisia, Shoukry visited Kenya, Comoros, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, and Senegal intending to gather the support of African countries and put pressure on Ethiopia to avoid the unilateral filling of the reservoir that threatens water supplies for Egypt and Sudan which depend almost entirely on the waters of the Nile.

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It must be said that Kenya and Tunisia are currently the only two African countries that have non-permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council.The Egyptian-Tunisian talks also addressed relations between the two countries, as Minister Shoukry revealed Egypt’s aspiration to continue encouraging bilateral cooperation in different fields.

The GERD, formerly known as the Millennium Dam, is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia under construction since 2011. The dam is in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia, about 45 km (28 mi) east of the border with Sudan. The main goal of the dam is electricity production to relieve Ethiopia’s acute energy shortage and for electricity export to neighboring countries.

With a planned installed capacity of 6.45 gigawatts, the barrier will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed, as well as the seventh-largest in the world.Filling the reservoir began in July 2020. It will take between 4 and 7 years to fill with water, depending on hydrologic circumstances during the filling phase and agreements reached between the three countries.

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