The “last chance” negotiations in the Congo ended without reaching an agreement, at a time when Cairo and Khartoum adhere to the second filling of the Renaissance Dam lake before reaching a binding legal agreement, in exchange for an Ethiopian refusal, and an affirmation of adherence to the filling dates and rejection of international mediation.
Egypt had hoped to participate in the last round to reach according to a timetable for a fair, balanced and legally binding agreement, warning that “Ethiopian intransigence will complicate the crisis and increase tension in the region.”
It was clear that Egypt relied on the Kinshasa negotiations as it represented the “last opportunity”, according to the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, especially that it came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi asserted that prejudice to his country’s right to the Nile waters is a “red line.”
Al-Sisi’s statements, which came in a press conference held at the Suez Canal, which returned to work after a week of closure due to the delinquency of a giant container tanker, were linked by observers that they were aimed at drawing attention to the geostrategic importance of Egypt as an influential country in the world, and it has international pressure papers that it may use in the dam crisis.
In separate statements to Al-Jazeera Net, experts and political analysts presented what they believe are Egypt’s scenarios to confront the Ethiopian insistence, and were far from the option of accepting the status quo in withdrawing from negotiations and the Declaration of Principles, which was signed by the leaders of the three countries in 2015, resorting to the Security Council, and looking for pressure. Arab and international, with the military solution remaining on the table for the decision-maker.
The cost of confrontation
This morning, Sisi warned, in statements in the new administrative capital, of the “cost of confrontation” in the dam crisis, stressing that “the (Egyptian) options are all open.”
Al-Sisi directed his speech to Ethiopia, saying that “cooperation is better than difference and conflict … and there is no prejudice to a point of water from Egypt, and we respect your right to development on the condition that our interest is not compromised,” explaining that the move will take place within the framework of “international law regulating the movement of water through international streams.”
Withdrawing from the negotiations
Experts agreed that Egypt is faced with limited options, the first of which is to withdraw from negotiations, including the “declaration of principles,” as they have become useless, with the possibility of holding a summit that brings together the leaders of the three countries again to reach solutions.
Mohamed Hamed, director of the Eastern Mediterranean Forum for Political and Strategic Studies (non-governmental / based in Cairo), confirmed that withdrawing from the agreement concluded 6 years ago could be a form of pressure and declaring everyone to withdraw the legitimacy of building the dam, as long as there is no agreement on filling and operating .
In the same context, the Egyptian politician, Tharwat Nafeh, demanded to withdraw from the declaration of principles, stressing that Egypt still had an opportunity to present it to the House of Representatives to be rejected quickly.
While academic Abbas Sharaqi, a professor of water resources at Cairo University, went on to say that the possible scenario is to hold meetings at the level of leaders to give another opportunity to the African Union led by the Congo, demanding that this time be limited by a timetable and conditional on Ethiopia’s stopping any construction that would start filling The second is for Lake Dam.
In this regard, Sharaki expected, if the African Union failed again, an Egyptian-Sudanese agreement to go to the Security Council.
He believed that the Council is able to make a recommendation at least not to Ethiopia to undertake any construction, and then to start negotiations immediately, warning of a repetition of the scenario of withdrawing the dam file from the Security Council and directing it to the African Union, as it wasted a whole year of negotiations.
This proposal was supported by the diplomat, Mohamed Morsi, a former assistant foreign minister, who called on Cairo and Khartoum to quickly submit an official complaint to the council to complement Egypt’s speech, which it sent to the council last May.
On his Facebook page, Morsi demanded that the complaint include a request for the council’s intervention based on the fact that completing and filling the dam lake without a prior and clear agreement represents a threat to international peace and security, and that this matter is not a normal technical or economic issue, and that it is a declaration of war against the two countries that gives them the right. In taking all measures and procedures in their possession to preserve their right to the waters of the Nile.
For his part, the academic and political analyst, Khairy Omar, suggested that Egypt submit a request to the Security Council to discuss the dam file, as one of the scenarios for facing the crisis, as it is the last step in the negotiations process.
However, Omar believed that resorting to the Council requires a network of diplomatic relations. In order to discuss and issue decisions, explaining that in light of the current balances between Egypt and Ethiopia, the council is not expected to be one of the paths for a political solution.
And he warned that any international intervention would postpone the crisis, and it would not be feasible, as it would be long-term while the water threat remained.
While Mohamed Hamed emphasized that the options of Egypt and Sudan are open in general, the first of which is to go to the Security Council, and the second is the continuation of maneuvers and military coordination.
Meanwhile, politician Tharwat Nafeh, who is the head of the National Security Committee of the former Shura Council, saw that his country no longer had many options, and international arbitration was supposed to be resorted to since 2012, which was in its favor, and would spare it what it is in now.
But the dilemma of resorting to the Security Council remains, according to the expert on African affairs, Badr Shafi’i, explaining that Egypt had previous experience last year, when the council referred the dam file to the African Union, in addition to the presence of Russia and China as permanent members of the Security Council. The veto in the face of any decision against Ethiopia.
Last month, the council abandoned issuing a statement calling for an end to the violence in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, which lasted for several months due to opposition from Moscow and Beijing, according to Western press reports.
Arab and international pressure
For his part, the former Minister of Irrigation, Muhammad Nasr Allam, advised Cairo to move towards the great powers that funded and contribute to building the dam, similar to China, Italy, Russia and Germany, or that give aid and financial contributions to Addis Ababa, such as the United States, noting that among the Arab countries (he did not name it) ) Those with financial deposits to support the Ethiopian economy.
Allam said in a televised interview, that the withdrawal of Arab deposits and investments from Ethiopia, which exceeds 3 billion, will support the Egyptian position, calling for strong Egyptian stances towards Ethiopia at the diplomatic and political levels.
Diplomat Mohamed Morsi called for disciplined and comprehensive activities in which major countries and other international institutions are addressed to clarify and announce positions.
And he called for direct contact with brothers in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and other Arab countries to put points on the letters, and to place the brothers in front of their historical responsibilities.
In the same context, Tariq Fahmy, a professor of political science at Cairo University, said in press statements to the “Masrawy” website that there are several paths to solve the crisis, including resorting to mobilizing influential countries such as France, England and Russia, and putting pressure on the United States. Because it can undermine the politics of Ethiopia.
This option, which may be the last, has been on the table since Ethiopia began building the dam in 2011, and from time to time it is evoked by the media and former officials in Egypt, in contrast to former US President Donald Trump’s reference, last year, to Egyptian threats to blow up the dam, after his country’s mediation failed in Take care of the negotiations.
It also reinforced the indications and indications of military action, the implementation of military maneuvers by Egypt and Sudan late last year, which, according to observers, did not exclude “messages of deterrence to Ethiopia,” which is the first joint maneuvers since the dismissal of former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
In the midst of the current mutual statements war, the two countries concluded, on Monday, the second edition of the joint air training activities (Nile Eagles-2). “To determine the readiness and readiness of the forces to carry out any tasks assigned to them.”
Acceptance of reality
Contrary to the previous proposal, the professor of international law and former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Al-Ashaal, ruled out the Egyptian decision-maker’s direction towards further negotiations, heading towards the Security Council, or carrying out a military strike.
Al-Ashaal expected to accept the fait accompli, saying that “there are no scenarios to deal with the crisis, and the government is expected to fail from the start, as it has no will to prevent Ethiopia from annihilating Egypt.”
Another scenario related to the Egyptian-Sudanese cooperation, referred to by Badr Shafi’i, is for things to go as they are, and a breakthrough may occur between Sudan and Ethiopia in which the latter takes into account Sudan’s considerations in that the second filling of the dam lake will take place in a longer period, so that it is not affected, and perhaps if it is reached. Countries agree to border crisis this may affect Egypt’s position.