Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Tunisia Thursday to hand Tunisian President Kais Saied a message from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and Egypt’s stance on the negotiations.
The president’s message to the Tunisian leader focused on the need for reaching a legally-binding deal on the GERD which is constructed on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the River Nile, the only source of water for Egypt’s population of 103.
The message also outlined the outcomes of negotiations on the GERD between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, especially the latest round of negotiations in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Tunisia is the last leg in a six-nation African tour the foreign minister made last week. The tour also included Niger, the Comoros Islands, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.
Foreign Minister Shoukry handed the presidents of these states messages from President Sisi on the same issue.
The tour came hard on the heels of the failure of direct talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in reaching a deal on the GERD.
It also comes ahead of a planned second filling of the dam reservoir, which is scheduled for the rainy season in July.
Egypt and Sudan have already warned against moving ahead with the filling without reaching a deal, citing immediate harm from the filling on the two countries and the long-term consequences from the dam on their share of water from the Nile.
According to previous statements by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez, the foreign minister’s African tour comes within Egypt’s efforts to keep fellow African states updated on the results of GERD talks and garner support for efforts to reach a legally-binding deal on the project.