Addis Ababa April 7/2021 (ENA) Ethiopia once again confirmed that it will not ink any agreement that is not in consonance with the international principles and laws that govern equitable utilization of Trans-boundary Rivers.
Besides, the government of Ethiopia had time and again stated that the Grand Ethiopian renaissance Dam (GERD) has been commissioned and is being built in line with The Declaration of Principles (DoP) that was signed between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
In a statement issued a couple of days back, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia noted with disappointment the statement issued by the United States Department of Treasury on the GERD released on 28 February 2020, following a meeting held without Ethiopia’s participation. Ethiopia had notified Egypt, Sudan, and the US that it needed more time to deliberate on the process.
The statement issued in connection with a trilateral meeting conducted in Kinshasa, on the 5th of April under the auspices of the AU with the attendance of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water of the three countries noted that Ethiopia as the owner of the GERD commenced first filling of the dam in parallel with the construction of the dam in accordance with the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and the causing of no significant harm as provided for under the agreement on the DoP.
The statement added that Ethiopia does not accept the characterization that the negotiation on the Guidelines and Rules on the First Filling and Annual Operation of the GERD (Guidelines and Rules) is completed.
The “text” reportedly initialed by the Arab Republic of Egypt in Washington D.C. is not the outcome of the negotiation or the technical and legal discussion of the three countries. Ethiopia made it clear that the Guidelines and Rules must be prepared by the three countries. The countries are yet to address outstanding issues pertaining to the finalization of the Guidelines and Rules.
The position held by Egypt and Sudan postulating that the second round of filling GERD should not be accomplished unless agreement is reached on the entire construction of GERD has no legal backing, the statement stressed.
Ethiopia, with the full knowledge and agreement of Egypt and Sudan has addressed all dam safety related issues during the International Panel of Experts process. Egypt and the Sudan had expressed their appreciation under Principle 8 of the DoP and Ethiopia will continue to implement it in good faith, the statement noted.
Ethiopia is committed to continue its engagement with Egypt and the Sudan to address the outstanding issues and finalize the Guidelines and Rules on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD. Ethiopia has agreed to accept that the US, South Africa and EU could preside over the future negotiations but categorically rejected the proposal to accord equal status with the AU, with an attempt to systematically belittle the original role of the AU.
Based on AU’s experiences, AU- led negations should be continued from what it has been adjourned back in 2015. However, Egypt and Sudan have shown their non-AU abided stance, by asking for a quartet negotiations while seated for a deal under AU’s framework. Such stance shown by both countries upsets the Congolese officials, as DRC being current AU chair.
It is to be noted that Egypt and Sudan are well aware of the technical standards of GERD and the fact that the gravity dam will not incur any significant on their equitable supply of water but are still pushing and pulling misconceptions, conspiracies and unwise threats to reinstate the colonial treaties on the Nile as part of their quest to deny Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile, and the rest of upper riparian countries’ legitimate right to generate electricity for their people and industries.
Egyptian sources indicate that after the collapse of the Kinshasa talks, Egypt and Sudan are to head to UN Security Council again over GERD as part of their joint diplomatic war on Ethiopia. In an attempt to escalate the issue of GERD by erroneously linking it to international security,
The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry called upon all international parties to interact with the issue saying “it does not prejudice only Egypt and Sudan, but also international peace and security.” The world heard that Egyptian President Al- Sisi declared a war provocative speech saying that “Nile water is untouchable”.
With all certainty, the second filling of GERD which is an alienable part of the entire construction of the dam will be conducted on schedule around the end of July as planned but Ethiopia is as usual ready to engage into genuine negotiations to resolve the issue. However, Ethiopia will not succumb to any level of intimidation geared towards sabotaging the second round of filling GERD.