Saudi Arabia rallies Gulf support for Egypt and Sudan over Nile dam row

March 31, 2021

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies — Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman — have expressed their solidarity with Egypt and Sudan in their dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In a statement on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said: "Saudi Arabia sees Egypt and Sudan's water security as an integral part of the broad Arab water security, adding that “the Kingdom supports all efforts to resolve the dispute while taking account the interests of all the parties involved.”

“We underline the need to continue negotiations in good faith to reach a fair and binding agreement regarding the Renaissance Dam as soon as possible, in accordance with international laws and procedures in force in this regard, in a manner that preserves the rights of all Nile Basin countries over its waters and serves their interests and their people, the statement added.

Bahrain also expressed its support for Egypt in preserving its national and water security, protecting the interests of its people and its legitimate right to life, as well as its sincere efforts to achieve regional peace and stability

Bahrain’s foreign ministry expressed the country's support for the efforts made to solve the crisis of filling and operating the Renaissance Dam in a way that preserves the water and economic rights of the countries of the Nile River mouth in accordance with international laws.

It stressed the need for Nile Basin countries to be able to achieve their ambitions for development and economic growth, in order to preserve security, peace, and stability in the region.

Kuwait also backed Egypt and Sudan, saying their security was an integral part of the Arab region's national security.

Kuwait stands in "solidarity" with both countries in their "tireless efforts" to ensure regional stability and resolve the dispute, "in a manner that preserves the water and economic rights of the Nile River countries," read a foreign ministry statement.

This should be in accordance with international law and in a manner that enables all sides to achieve their ambitions for development, the ministry added.

Oman also expressed on Tuesday its solidarity with Egypt's efforts to resolve the dispute over Ethiopia's giant hydro-electric dam.

In a statement posted by the Omani foreign ministry on its Twitter account on Tuesday, the ministry stressed its support for Egypt's dispute resolution efforts through dialogue and negotiations to ensure regional stability and protect the interests of all the parties involved.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates called on Wednesday for the continuation of the diplomatic dialogue to end the dispute.

The UAE’s foreign ministry said it is extremely keen that the constructive diplomatic dialogue and fruitful talks continue to overcome differences over GERD between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

The Gulf country stressed the importance to work through related international laws to reach a consensus and preserve the rights of the three countries and their water security to achieve stability and sustainable development.

The UAE has invited the foreign ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to Abu Dhabi last week to resume talks that reached a deadlock in January.

The Emirates is engaged in mediation between Sudan and Ethiopia over border tension issues.

The UAE statement comes a day after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi talked about the GERD issue at a press conference at the Suez Canal on Tuesday.

“A compromise to Egypt’s water share is a red line, and our response (if our water share is affected) will affect the stability of the whole region,” El-Sisi had told reporters in comments over the continued deadlock in negotiations with Ethiopia over the GERD.

“No one can take a drop of water from Egypt,” El-Sisi said, adding that “If it happens, there will be inconceivable instability in the region that no one could imagine.”

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