HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has affirmed a unified Arab position regarding the Renaissance Dam crisis, noting that it supports the African mediation by urging all parties to respond to this mediation and to be serious in dealing with this file, while stressing the need not to take any unilateral escalatory measure that may cause harm to the countries downstream of the Nile, in particular Egypt and Sudan.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, following the Arab foreign ministers’ meetings held in Doha on Tuesday, Sheikh Mohamed pointed to the resolution issued by the ministerial meeting in the extraordinary session, which includes a set of steps, noting in this context that there are steps to be taken gradually as mentioned in the resolution.
He reiterated the call for a solution through diplomatic means in accordance with the stable rules of international relations and international law, and wished the engagement of the other party in accordance with the same rules in order to reach a solution that satisfies all parties.
He stressed the importance of water security for the survival and stability of the peoples of Egypt and Sudan, referring to an Arab consensus on this goal and Qatar’s support to this direction.
Sheikh Mohamed said the consultative meeting of Arab foreign ministers touched on key regional issues of concern to the Arab affairs, mainly the Palestinian issue and the recent provocative measures carried out by the Israeli occupation forces in occupied Jerusalem.
He added that the meeting also reviewed the recent efforts to end the war on Gaza, as well as the latest developments in Libya.
The Libyan foreign minister gave a briefing on the latest developments in Libya.
The meeting also tackled the developments in Lebanon and Sudan as well as the Syrian crisis, in addition to a number of issues related to strengthening the Arab co-operation in various fields, in particular the co-operation in confronting the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
He noted the meeting of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level in its extraordinary session on the developments of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam file, appreciating the efforts exerted by South Africa during its presidency of the African Union in facilitating the negotiations of the Renaissance Dam, and tireless efforts of the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the current chair of the African Union, in order to reach a just settlement of this issue.
Sheikh Mohamed underlined that all countries stressed the need for all parties to engage in the negotiations with good intention in order to urgently reach a fair, balanced and binding agreement on the Renaissance Dam, to achieve the common interests of Egypt, Sudan and all Nile Basin countries.
He said the ministers expressed concern over the faltering of the negotiations that took place under the auspices of the African Union and the recent developments, hoping that there will be a comprehensive and just solution.
He called on the parties to refrain from taking any unilateral measure that would harm the water interests of other countries without reaching a comprehensive agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Dam.
He noted that meeting called for communicating with the permanent members of the UN Security Council to urge them to take practical steps to stop the illegal Israeli policies and procedures in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Sheikh Mohamed said it was agreed among the members that Jordan would assume the presidency of the committee, noting that the meeting concluded with an agreement on the steps that can be taken in a collective framework, and the committees efforts to stop the illegal Israeli violations taking place in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He thanked everyone for the positive participation, stressing that the meetings were positive and constructive.
Answering a question about the latest developments in the relations between Qatar and Egypt, and whether there were steps to raise the diplomatic representation between the two countries and overcome the differences, he underlined that the Qatari-Egyptian relations have been moving in a positive direction since the Al-Ula summit which was held in Saudi Arabia.
He noted the meetings of the follow-up committees which followed the summit and contributed to resolving many outstanding issues between the two countries.
Sheikh Mohamed noted his visit to Egypt to convey a message from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, as well as the message the Amir received from the Egyptian president, stressing that the talks he held with the Egyptian foreign minister were positive and constructive.
He stressed the joint keenness on advancing bilateral relations and restoring the brotherly relations in their form and their important historical dimension for both countries, looking forward to further firm steps towards improving these relations.
He affirmed that Egypt is a pivotal and important country for the entire Arab world, and Qatar looks forward to building good relations not only with Egypt, but with all Arab and neighbouring countries.
Sheikh Mohamed expressed delight with the level of attendance in the Arab League meetings in Doha which included 17 foreign ministers, noting that this reflects the positive spirit and represents a momentum and impetus for further Arab co-operation, which is very important for the region.
He noted that the past period has witnessed steps that prove a common desire from all parties to promote the joint action, and that the region is witnessing a great desire for dialogue, which is essential to Qatar’s foreign policy.
On the role that Qatar can play in the Renaissance Dam file, he indicated that there is a process underway in this regard, stressing that Qatar will provide all the support needed by brotherly and friendly countries.
He called on all parties to resort to diplomacy and resolve issues through dialogue, and affirmed the rejection of unilateral decisions that would cause harm to any country or any people in the region.
For his part, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit praised the consensus that resulted from the emergency meeting which was held at the request of Egypt and Sudan to discuss the issue of the Renaissance Dam, referring to the decision issued by the Ministerial Council in this regard.
He also praised the Arab position which he described as very strong in support of Egypt and Sudan, stressing that the meeting affirmed that the water security of both countries is an integral part of the Arab national security and rejected any action or measure that would prejudice their rights in the Nile waters.
He noted that the decision carries with it another dimension related to the role of the Security Council in the Renaissance Dam file, explaining that the decision does not only refer the matter to the Council, but also demands the Security Council to hold a session and to urgently discuss this file.
On the practical steps that the League will take after the Doha meetings to limit the impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan, the Secretary-General indicated that the decision stipulates the assignment of the Arab group formed from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq and the General Secretariat, in addition to the Arab member of the Security Council, to follow up the working in the United Nations with the two downstream countries, in addition to working with all members of the Security Council, in particular with the permanent members of the Security Council.
He noted that the meetings held in Doha were very fruitful, pointing out that the consultative meeting resulted in assigning the General Secretariat of the Arab League a number of files to be followed up during the coming period, whether with regard to co-ordinating joint Arab action or with regard to the position of the Arab League and the Arab Group in the work mechanism with the international community regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring access to vaccines.
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