Egypt’s Sisi affirms position on GERD during meeting with former Namibian president Nujoma
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi received in Cairo on Saturday former Namibian president Sam Nujoma, a statement by the presidency read.
The president affirmed Egypt s appreciation of its relationship with the African country.
El-Sisi congratulated Nujoma for being recently awarded the Kemet Boutros Ghali (KBG) Foundation for Peace and Knowledge prize in recognition of his efforts to end conflicts in Africa and his long struggle to achieve the independence of Namibia.
According to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Nujoma visited Egypt upon the invitation of the KBG to receive the annual award for Outstanding Achievements in the field of Diplomacy for Peaceful Conflict Resolution.
KBG, which was named after Boutros Boutros-Ghali who served as Egypt s foreign minister and UN secretary-general, was established in 2018 by a group of prominent figures of culture and diplomacy.
Nujoma hailed Egypt s relentless efforts to maintain peace and security in Africa and for its commitment to Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 initiative, the Egyptian presidential statement said.
In 2013, African Union (AU) leaders adopted Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 as one of the flagship projects meant to achieve peace for the sake of development across Africa. The initiative was intended to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters.
Nujoma stressed the importance of Egypt as a major actor in laying the foundations for joint African action and for reaching African solutions to the continent’s problems and its various peace and security issues, the statement noted.
The KBG prize spoke about the appreciation Egypt enjoys in Namibia and the African continent for its historical support of the struggle for independence over the past century and various African issues.
Egypt’s role, the statement quoted Nujoma as saying, was clearly demonstrated during the fruitful Egyptian presidency of the AU in 2019.
Egypt s unwavering position on GERD
El-Sisi and Nujoma exchanged views on a number of African issues, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Nujoma affirmed his country s support of Egypt s efforts to resolve the conflict through negotiations in a manner that achieves the interests of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
El-Sisi emphasised Egypt s insistence to reach a legally binding agreement that preserves Egypt s water rights and meets the aspirations of other countries for development.
On 4 November, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia agreed to end the ongoing round of negotiations on GERD and return the file to the AU after it had become clear during tripartite discussions on the controversial dam that there is no compatibility between the three countries on the methodology for completing the negotiations within the next stage, according to a statement by Egypt’s irrigation and water resources ministry.
On the same day, the Sudanese irrigation ministry stated that the round of negotiations, which started on 27 October, failed to make tangible progress in the role set by the joint meeting of the foreign and water ministers, which is to agree on the role that experts can play in the negotiations, its methodology, paths and timetable.
The previous round of AU-mediated talks broke down in late August after Ethiopia proposed a package of non-binding guidelines for the filling and operation of the mega-dam, which Egypt and Sudan rejected.
The AU-sponsored round of negotiations was launched in July after negotiations between the three countries reached deadlock last year, as did negotiations sponsored by the US and the World Bank in February.
The GERD, built 15 kilometres from the Ethiopian border with Sudan, has been a source of contention between the three countries.
Cairo that has more than 85 per cent of its Nile water flow from Ethiopian highlands fears the massive hydropower project will significantly diminish its crucial water supplies, which is already below scarcity level, from the River Nile, while Sudan fears it could endanger the safety of its own dams.
Ethiopia, however, says the 6,000-megawatt dam is key to its development and hopes to become Africa’s biggest electricity exporter with the GERD, which is set to be the continent’s largest dam.