Nation Has Full Rights to Build Dam, Says FM Gedu

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ENA March 3/2020 Ethiopia has the full rights to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and pull out its citizens from poverty, Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew and Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Sileshi Bekele gave a joint press briefing on the recent development on the GERD today.

Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew on the occasion stressed that Ethiopia has full rights to use its own natural resources to extricate citizens out of  poverty.

Yet the country is building the dam in such a way as to not cause a significant harm to the downstream countries, he added.

It is with this in mind that Ethiopia entered into talks in order to build trust and confidence among downstream countries, the minister explained.

And after the series of talks held on a number of issues over the past years, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have managed to narrow their differences, Gedu noted, adding that these  negotiations were done to assure the riparian countries which are seeking confirmation on the issue.  

But there are issues that the countries have not yet agreed on both technically and legally.

Ethiopia believes in negotiating and the remaining issues will be resolved he said, stressing that the nation’s rights and national interest should be respected.

The Minister revealed that the United States and the World Bank which showed interest in drafting agreement is beyond their mandate as observers and outside their roles.

Gedu further noted that negotiation is the only means to reach agreement, rejecting Egypt’s warning. The country’s warning “is not beneficial for everyone, except ruining relations.”

He also disclosed that Sudan had during the negotiations demonstrated firm support for the dam. It is only  Egypt that has interest to take hegemony over the Nile River.

The foreign minister underlined that Ethiopia wants the United States to play constructive role in pushing the countries to reach agreement by themselves. Any role beyond this would not benefit everyone, he stressed.

Minister of Water, Irrigation Energy Sileshi Bekele on his part explained the status of  the dam.

In his updates about GERD, the minister said the construction of the dam is well underway.

Filling of the dam will start next July, he stated, adding that it is expected to hold 4.9 billion cubic meter of water by the end of the month.

The dam will start power generation in February and March next year, it was learned.