Egypt says Kenya supports “Egypt stance” in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute

President Uhuru Kenyatta initiated a phone call to Egyptian President , “supported Egypt’s ‘positive stance’ ” on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, According to Egyptian News sources.

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March 17, 2020

President Uhuru Kenyatta phoned Egyptian President Abdul Fetah Al-Sisi on Tuesday and told him, “Kenya supports Egypt’s ‘positive stance'” regarding the dispute on Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to Ahram Online report which cited Egyptian President’s spokesperson, Bassam Rady. 

Kenyatta and Sisi reportedly discussed developments on GERD since the failure of the US-brokered agreement in late February 2020 on the filling and operation of the Dam.  The US and The World Bank became part of the negotiation as “observers” to the negotiation, but later the United States changed the role in a way to support Egypt, which “disappointed” Ethiopian authorities. Former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, slammed the Trump administration for putting unfair pressure on Ethiopia. 

According to Ahram Online’s report, Kenyatta described the Egyptian position as one that emanates from “sincere political will.” 

As Egypt mobilized the Arab League to support her position, which Ethiopia describes as one that violates the sovereignty of Ethiopia and the right to use water from the Nile, and all members of the Arab League except Sudan declared support to Egypt. 

Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Hassan Shoukry traveled to Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, and the European Union to solicit support against Ethiopia. 

This week, he is campaigning in Africa. He traveled to Burundi and South Africa. South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, and Rwanda are next stops for the Egyptian Foreign Minister, according to Ahrma Online report. 

Egypt wants Egypt to fill the Dam between 7 and 21 years, and release water from the Dam whenever there is a drought situation in Egypt irrespective of the causes for the drought.

This past week, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde met with the presidents of Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda (all Nile riparian countries and part of the Cooperative Framework Argument). 

Sahle-Work reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to equitable use of the Nile water. 

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni suggested a summit of all Nile riparian countries for a frank discussion on the use of the natural resource that is shared by ten African countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) 

Sixty-five percent of Ethiopia’s 110 million population does not have access to electricity. The $5 billion worth of Ethiopia’s Mega Dam was first intended to generate 6000 MW of power both for local consumption and for export to neighboring Sudan.  Seventy percent of the construction is completed. 

Following the collapse of the Washington negotiation and rejection of the Egyptian position, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes as “intent to control Nile water,” Ethiopia is drafting a detailed agreement regarding the operation and filling of the GERD.  

Egypt’s diplomatic effort came much later after it escalated the matter to take any option to defend Egypt’s “historical right” over the Nile. The claim is based on the Colonial era agreement to which Ethiopia is not apart.  Ethiopia says that its defense force is ready to defend the Dam and take a retaliatory measure.

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