Egypt says GERD talks are ‘waste of time,’ Ethiopia to bear cost of any harm



Thu, 28 Mar 2024 - 02:35 GMT


Thu, 28 Mar 2024 - 02:35 GMT

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - Ethiopian gov't

FILE - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - Ethiopian gov't

CAIRO – 28 March 2024: Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hani Sewilam stated that Egypt does not intend to engage in further negotiations regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in its current proposed form, deeming them as a “waste of time.”

Speaking during the World Water Day celebrations, Sewilam emphasized that Ethiopia will bear the costs of any potential harm caused to Egypt by the dam, as per the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

The minister highlighted Egypt's prerogative to take necessary measures if its security is directly threatened.

Drought management

During a prolonged drought, which may persist for years, the water reserves of Egypt's High Dam will be depleted, while the Ethiopian dam will retain significant amounts of water for power generation, Sewilam explained.

In such a scenario, the well-being of citizens in Egypt and Sudan must take precedence, and water must be released from the Ethiopian dam lake, he said.

This aspect, along with the post-drought situation, has been a key focus of the negotiations.

Sewilam emphasized that this represents the most perilous position for Egypt and Sudan, prompting both downstream countries to seek a legally-binding agreement that outlines strategies for addressing the challenges posed by the drought.

Furthermore, Egypt has initiated a new water-saving policy, incorporating the establishment of water plants, solar-powered groundwater wells, ground tanks, rainwater harvesting dams, and the renovation of irrigation infrastructure.

The policy also includes the creation of rain and climate change forecasting centers.

Sewilam cautioned that any dam built on the Nile River negatively impacts Egypt, with some consequences solvable and others not.

GERD deadlock

Despite more than a decade of negotiations, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have yet to resolve their differences regarding the dam.

Last year's negotiation rounds also failed, with Egypt attributing the breakdown to Ethiopia's persistent rejection of proposed middle-ground technical or legal solutions to safeguard the interests of all three countries.

In December, the Ministry of Water Resources underlined Egypt's close monitoring of the dam's filling and operation, while reserving the right to protect its water and national security in accordance with international charters and agreements.

As Egypt heavily relies on the Nile for its water needs, it perceives the dam as a threat to its already limited water supply.

Egypt and Sudan had strived to secure a legally binding agreement with Ethiopia regarding the GERD, aiming to safeguard their water rights.

However, Ethiopia has proceeded with dam filling and operation without their consent.



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