Minister Says GERD Negotiations Do Not Compromise National Interest

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ENA,February 5/2020 Ministry of Water, Energy and Irrigation said the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations are being conducted based on the principle of equitable and reasonable way that “would not compromise Ethiopian sustainable water interest on Nile water.” 

In his press briefing today, Water, Energy and Irrigation Minister Sileshi Bekele downplayed  fake news circulated and disseminated on social media claiming that the agreement Ethiopia has been entering harms the national interest of the country.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have been conducting extensive talks for almost eight years since the beginning of  the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

The minister noted that Ethiopian negotiators have made fruitful talks by narrowing major technical gaps and building the consensus reached so far. These do not negatively affect  Ethiopia’s interest.

“Generally, when we talk about Nile water, we are guided by a principle which allows equitable and reasonable use without causing significant harm. As a result, one thing that the people of Ethiopia should realize is all riparian countries need to use the water equitably. This should not be  a source of dispute,”  Sileshi pointed out.   

Noting that Ethiopia does not have any intention to significantly harm the downstream countries, the minister added that the country has been working on ways of ensuring its interests and proposing solutions to minimize such significant harms to the downstream countries.  

According to him, the three countries dealing with four major documents, have particularly  more or less sorted out their major differences on technical issues during the meeting held in Washington last week.

There are minor issues postponed to be resolved, but the remaining issues are not much significant as the countries have gone a long way in this regard.   

The minister added that the legal team of the three countries is preparing documents on the remaining items, including legal provisions such as issues related to legal settlements of differences, coordination mechanism and data exchange on GERD.  

Accordingly, Ethiopia is committed to sign the agreement after the finalization of all inclusive documents which the three countries are scheduled to sign as final accord by end of this month.