CAIRO (Egypttoday)―Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu asserted that PM Hailemariam Desalegn’s remark on the World Bank’s mediation in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks was “out of context,” Egypt’s Foreign ministry spokesman, Ahmed Abu Zeid, said on Sunday.

Media reports pointed out that Prime Minister Hailemariam rejected Egypt’s request to include the World Bank in the tripartite technical committee’s talks (Egypt – Ethiopia – Sudan) on the Ethiopian Dam in an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).

Hailemariam said that Ethiopia will not accept any arbitration by a third party on the GERD issue as there is an opportunity for the three countries to resolve possible disputes by themselves.

Abu Zeid said in an interview with ON E channel that the tripartite technical committee’s talks should not bear any political interpretation, because they have a technical nature.

He added that Egypt was keen to include the World Bank in the tripartite talks to act as a neutral party based on its international experience in establishing major dam projects.

Hailemariam visited Cairo in the last week when he attended the sixth meeting of the joint Egyptian-Ethiopian Higher Committee. The meeting tackled several fields, including education, health, agriculture and fisheries.

Hailemariam also met with President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and discussed the GERD issue among other topics of common interest.

Controversy over the Declaration of Principles

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed the “Declaration of Principles” in a step to put an end to the four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements among Nile Basin countries.

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