Shukri discusses islands agreement, Ethiopia dam and terrorism

Wednesday 15-06-2016 03:56 PM

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, REUTERS

CAIRO, Jun 15 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that the future of the maritime border demarcation agreement signed with Saudi Arabia is dependent on the parliament's decision after its review.

If the parliament decided to reject the agreement, then it will be as if it had never existed, Sameh Shukri said.

The agreement, which stipulates that the two strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir fall into Saudi territorial waters, stirred controversy, with critics accusing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of "selling Egypt" to Saudi Arabia in return for aid.

Shukri's statements came during the national dialogue organised with youth under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth on Tuesday.

He clarified that the House of Representatives was entitled and constitutionally obliged to review executive decisions and ratify international agreements. He also added that all states strive to demarcate their land and maritime borders in order to guarantee stability and state sovereignty.  

Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam

Shoukry dismissed calls to strike the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) sternly, saying there was "no room to talk about this" especially given the historical ties that connect Egypt with the people of Ethiopia.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been locked for years in negotiations over the Ethiopian dam and Egypt fears that once completed, the hydroelectric dam will have a detrimental effect on its share of Nile Water.

Several rounds of talks were held over the past two years as Egypt seeks assurances that the hydroelectric dam will not reduce its share of Nile water.

In March 2015, the heads of the three states signed a Declaration of Principles that sets out the principles governing cooperation between the three states to benefit from the Nile water and the Renaissance Dam.

The three states also signed the "Khartoum Document" in December 2015 agreeing on a mechanism for resolving contested issues related to the GERD. 

Terrorism phenomenon

Shukri also discussed the rising "phenomenon of terrorism" that has been unfolding recently, stressing that the security solution will not suffice to put an end to this phenomenon.

"Egypt is fighting terrorism on an internal front in the Sinai and is considered among the leading defenders of Arab and African lands," Shoukry said.

The foreign minister said that any retreat in Egypt's leading role in the fight against terrorism would lead to a "flood" in the terrorism phenomenon.  

Restoring African ties

Shoukry talked about restoring Egypt's role in the African continent, pointing out that Egypt’s relations with African states "had slightly weakened" over the past years.

"Africa is a promising continent and everyone affirms it will be the continent of the future as it holds resources and human capital; it only lacks stability," Shoukry said.

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