Egypt, Bahrain leaders discuss Ethiopia’s Nile dam issue

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met on Thursday with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, where they discussed the latest developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on the Nile River, said the Egyptian presidency.

During the talks, the Bahraini king renewed his country’s solidarity and support for Egypt and Sudan regarding the GERD issue, said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady in a statement.

The king also reiterated Manama’s support for everything that preserves Egypt’s and Sudan’s legitimate rights and water security in the Nile River, “as well as support for efforts to reach a binding, just and comprehensive agreement on filling and operating the GERD,” according to the statement.

For his part, Sisi urged for intensifying meetings between senior officials of both Egypt and Bahrain to coordinate closely on the successive developments taking place in the Middle East region and strengthen Arab unity in facing various regional challenges.

The Egyptian president also expressed Egypt’s keenness to continue boosting bilateral cooperation with Bahrain in all fields, hailing the “historical ties” between the two Arab countries.

The meeting came a day after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued a presidential statement urging resumption of tripartite negotiations among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan with a view to finalizing the text of a mutually acceptable agreement on filling and operating the dam “within a reasonable time frame.”

It also encouraged observers invited to the African Union-led negotiations – and any other observers that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan may consensually decide to jointly invite, to continue to support the discussions with a view to facilitating the resolution of outstanding technical and legal issues.

The UNSC presidential statement has been welcomed by both downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, which have repeatedly been calling for a tripartite binding legal agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam.

Decade-long negotiations failed to reach an agreement over the issue, including those hosted earlier by Washington and recently by the AU.

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