Egyptian Foreign Minister visits Tunisia to rally support against Ethiopian dam

Egyptian Foreign Minister visits Tunisia to rally support against Ethiopian dam
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has visited Tunisia in order to explain his country's position on Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam, which Egypt believes could have catastrophic effects on water supply.
2 min read
23 April, 2021
Sameh Shoukry visited several African countries to explain Egypt's position [Getty File Image]

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Tunisia on Thursday on the last leg of a tour of African countries aimed at rallying support over  the bitterly disputed Great Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is constructing on the Nile. 

Shoukry delivered a letter to Tunisian President Kais Saied, updating him on the latest developments in the dispute.

He expressed Egypt's willingness to coordinate with international organizations and other countries to resolve the dispute and ensure regional stability and security, according to an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement 

During a visit to Egypt a week ago, Saied said Tunis stands by Egypt in the Nile dam crisis and that his country “refuses any harm Egyptian water security.”

“Egypt’s national security is an essential pillar of Arab national security,” he said, according to Egypt Today.

Read also: Ethiopian Foreign Minister accuses Egypt, Sudan of ‘monopolizing’ Nile as talks stall

Tunisia was the last stop on a tour that took Shoukry to several African countries including Kenya, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ethiopia intends to fill its Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam  (GERD) this summer for a second time, a move strongly opposed by downstream countries Sudan and Egypt. It says the project is necessary to provide power to its population of more than 100 million.

Egypt and Sudan say filling the dam, which islocated on the Blue Nile River, could dangerously impact the Nile’s water levels and interfere with the operation of their own dams. 97% of Egypt's water comes from the Nile.

Shoukry’s trip came on the heels of a failed round of negotiations between the three countries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which currently holds the chairmanship of the African Union (AU), earlier this month.

Egypt and Sudan have said that besides the African Union, the US, the EU, and the UN should be involved in negotiations but Ethiopian officials have rejected this idea, saying that it was a stalling tactic.

For their part, Egypt and Sudan recently rejected an Ethiopian proposal to share data regarding the GERD, saying that the offer implied "suspicious selectivity" regarding what will be shared. 

Egypt has also said that two “bottom outlets” Ethiopia has recently constructed on the GERD would only allow a limited flow of Nile water to reach its territory.

Both Egypt and Ethiopia are currently engaged in intensive efforts to promote their contrasting positions on the GERD to the international community.

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