Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed Moscow’s rejection of any harm to the Egyptian historic water rights, as he discussed in Cairo the Ethiopian dam dispute with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Monday.
Lavrov has made an official visit to Egypt, during which he also held a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry and highlighted the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dispute.
Rounds of negotiations among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on GERD have reached a deadlock several times with Egypt blaming the failure on Ethiopia’s intransigence.
Egypt and Sudan insist that a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam should be reached before Ethiopia implements the second phase of dam filling.
Lavrov voiced his country’s rejection of any unilateral measures in this regard, which Egypt and Sudan blame on Ethiopia.
He also expressed Russia’s aspiration that a solution that achieves the interests of the three countries is reached as soon as possible through negotiations, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.
Sisi, for his part, affirmed that Egypt attaches the utmost importance to the GERD issue within the framework of protecting its historic water rights in the River Nile and given that it is a matter of national security to Egypt.
Sisi underscored the need for a comprehensive, legally binding agreement among the three countries on the rules of the filling and operation of the dam.
Sisi affirmed that leaving the issue without a solution would negatively impact the security and stability of the whole region.
The meeting discussed cooperation in the security and military fields, including the mechanism of joint cooperation in the security and counterterrorism efforts between the two countries’ relevant authorities, the Presidency said.
Sisi and Lavrov also discussed the joint efforts to resume Russian flights to Egypt.
This comes amid the Russian suspension of charter flights to Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh resort cities due to a Russian plane crash over Sinai in 2015.
They addressed the Dabaa nuclear power plant being built by Russia in Egypt and the preparations for an upcoming joint economic committee.
Sisi asked Lavrov to convey his greetings to Russian President Vladmir Putin, affirming keenness to enhance the extended partnership with Russia.
The Egyptian president highlighted the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between Russian and Egypt recently approved by the Egyptian Parliament.
He said this agreement will open new horizons for bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various fields and joint projects.
Lavrov also conveyed Putin’s greetings to Sisi, saying Russia attaches great importance to the continuing coordination and consultation with Egypt on regional and international isssues.
Lavrov also expressed Russia’s appreciation of the Egyptian role in the Middle East and Africa as a pillar of security and stability.
Sisi reiterated Egypt’s unchangeable strategic stance that is based on restoring security and stability in the countries of the region, which are affected by disputes.
The president highlighted the importance of reconstructing the state institutions in these countries.
Lavrov hailed Egypt’s pivotal role in settling the Libyan crisis and the personal efforts made by Sisi in this regard.
The Russian minister said these efforts have enhanced the political path to resolve the Libyan crisis. He affirmed his country’s keenness to continue the intensified cooperation and coordination with Egypt in the Libyan file.