CAIRO, April 11. /TASS/. Cairo believes that Russia may play a positive part in resolving the crisis around Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Egypt and Sudan have been involved in, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in an interview with TASS on Sunday ahead of his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Cairo, scheduled for Monday, April 12.
"Our talks will definitely be a good occasion to consider this issue and the role Russia can play due to its membership at the UN Security Council or those positions in the international arena in the effort to resolve the crisis and to reach a legally binding agreement on filling [the water reservoir] and on launching the Renaissance Dam," he said.
"We are in talks within the framework of Egyptian-Russian relations. And I will be informing the [Russian foreign] minister about the developments around this case, in particular, about the latest round of talks held in Kinshasa," Shoukry added.
"Those negotiations have never been resumed due to Ethiopia’s uncompromising position. Russia needs to play a more influential part in light of its relations with Ethiopia in order to resolve the crisis and to reduce tensions caused by them in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, so as to maintain global peace and security," the Egyptian foreign minister emphasized. "The Russian Federation can indeed take on this responsibility in cooperation with permanent members of the Security Council, since it has both capabilities and the necessary influence to play a positive role in this regard."
Dam of discord
Since 2011 Ethiopia has been implementing the project of building Africa’s largest dam called Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The GERD, a cascade of four dams, will generate 5,250 megawatts. The $4.6-billion project is 80% complete and Addis Ababa plans to commission the dam in 2022-2023. The hydropower project is crucial to Ethiopia’s economic growth, as its implementation will provide the country with energy and start energy exports to neighboring states. Egypt and Sudan fear that the Ethiopian hydroelectric dam will cause major disruptions to their access to the Nile’s waters, which will trigger numerous socioeconomic and environmental problems. Therefore, those two countries try to secure water resources requirements for themselves and to delay the filling of the GERD’s reservoir as long as possible.
The three countries have been unable to reach a compromise concerning the terms of the GERD’s filling and operation for a year.