Egypt is still exerting diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam threatening Egypt’s national water security by filling the dam with the Nile’s water, the lifeline of Egypt.
It seems that Cairo and Addis Ababa are racing to win the African support, followed by the failure of U.S. mediation between the two sides.
Despite the frequent visits of Egypt Foreign Minister to the Arab North African states, which have already declared solidarity with Egypt, Cairo seeks mobilizing the African stances, particularly those of the Nile basin countries, attempting to surpass the Ethiopian efforts. Thus, Egypt’s visits and messages to Africa have been remarkably repeated.
Tanzania: New African Stop
On Thursday, Tanzania received a message from the Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on the latest developments of the Renaissance Dam negotiations.
The message was delivered by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to his Tanzanian counterpart Palamagamba Kabudi during their meeting in Tanzania, that came within the framework of Shukri’s tour to several African countries.
During the visit, Shukri expounded the developments of the 5-years negotiations brokered by the U.S. and the World Bank, and which ended in formulating a just and balanced agreement, meeting the interests of the three Nile basin countries, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
The Tanzanian minister affirmed that the message will be delivered to the president, who was unable to meet with Shkri because of his visit to flood-stricken areas in his country, according to the foreign ministry statement.
Kabudi stressed that Ethiopia appreciates Egypt’s efforts and flexibility it has shown in the talks to reach an agreement that would safeguard the interests of the three countries.
Egyptian Ethiopian race
Lately, Egypt and Ethiopia have been trying to shed the light –diplomatically – on the crisis through foreign visits paid by Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde on one side, and Egyptian Foreign Minister on the other side, to explain the latest developments in the file of the Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian President has recently visited Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, explaining the latest developments to her counterparts in the three countries regarding the Renaissance Dam talks with Sudan and Egypt, aiming to reaching an agreement on the process of filling and operation.
Zewde said that its government is committed to work and cooperate with the Nile Basin countries according to the principle of reasonable and fair use of water.
Addis Ababa has always provided all necessary information related to the concerns of the downstream countries over the building of the Renaissance Dam, she added.
Zawde expressed her hopes of implementing the Declaration of Principles agreement, signed in Khartoum, 2015, between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, and emphasized Ethiopia’s stance that the Nile could be a source of cooperation rather than a source of conflict and misunderstanding.
Egypt Diplomacy… New Rounds
On Tuesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shuri started his African tour with a visit to the Burundian capital Bujumbura, delivering a message from President Sisi regarding the Renaissance Dam.
In addition to Burundi, the minister’s tour included visits to South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Niger.
A few days ago, the Egyptian minister made two tours to Arab and European countries, during which he delivered massages on the same topic.
On Saturday March 7, Cairo rejected the latest Ethiopian statement, which criticized the Arab League’s decision, approving Egypt’s historical rights to Nile’s water, and rejected any unilateral Ethiopian measures.
“We still have a balanced solution for the crisis of the Renaissance Dam, which safeguards the interests of all parties,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry explained in a statement.
Meanwhile, Addis Ababa has announced that it would not participate in the talks to be hosted by Washington last month, to study proposals from the US Treasury Department on a draft agreement regarding filling and operating the Renaissance Dam.
It had also decided to start storing 4.9 billion cubic meters of Nile water in the Renaissance Dam next July.
Cairo has rejected the Ethiopian decision of filling the dam without a previous agreement, indication that Addis Ababa has deliberately missed the talks in Washington.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Water Management have expressed their dissatisfaction and rejection of the statement issued by the Ethiopian Government regarding the round of talks over the Renaissance Dam, held in Washington, February 27 and 28.