Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Guba, Ethiopia- CC via Flickr/Pierre Markuse
CAIRO - 10 January 2020: Egypt has slammed Ethiopia over its latest comments concerning the final stage of the negotiations of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Addis Ababa.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement criticizing the Ethipian side, saying that the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' statement on GERD negotiations includes some “misleading and unacceptable information '' on Egypt’s negotiations during the meeting, which was attended by representatives from the United States and the World Bank.
Ethiopia’s statement “deliberately involved misleading and distorting facts, and presented a picture totally inconsistent with the course of the negotiations and against Egypt's stances and its technical proposals,” Egypt said, noting that the statement runs counter to the realities of the series of three previous meetings that were held in light of the outcomes of Washington-held meeting on November 6, 2019.
Egypt also denied the claims made by Ethiopian side, saying that Egypt did not ask for filling the $4-billion dam’s reservoir over the span of 12-21 years.
“Contrary to what was stated by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry which claimed that Egypt requested to fill the Renaissance Dam in a period of 12 to 21 years, Egypt did not specify a number of years to fill Dam, but the three countries agreed more than a year ago on filling the dam in stages depending on the water inflow of the Blue Nile. The Egyptian proposal leads to filling the Renaissance Dam in 6 or 7 years if the river’s inflow is at the average or above average during the period of filling the dam. However, during the period of drought, the Egyptian proposal enables the Renaissance Dam to generate 80% of its electricity production, which means that the Ethiopian side will bear the minimum burden of drought,” Egypt said in Friday's statement.
Egypt also said that the four meeting failed to reach a deal due to Ethiopia’s intransigence, accusing Addis Ababa of imposing the policy of fait accompli and controlling over the Blue Nile with putting into consideration the water interests of the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan].
Egypt said that Ethiopia violates its legal obligations in accordance with international treaties and norms, “foremost among which is the Declaration of Principles Agreement concluded on March 23, 2015, as well as the 1902 agreement that Ethiopia concluded with its free will as an independent state, and the 1993 agreement in which it pledged not to cause harm to Egypt's water interests,” adding “Ethiopia is seeking to control the Blue Nile as it does in other common international rivers, in which it shares with other nations.”
Cairo submitted rules and mechanism cope with the hydrological changes of the Blue Nile inflow and with the expected years of drought during the period of filling the dam, the statement said, noting that the measures also take into consideration the slowdown in filling process and releasing amounts of water from Renaissance Dam’s reservoir to reduce its negative impacts on the downstream countries.
“Egypt expresses its surprise that whenever it asks for agreeing on effective steps to deal with the years of drought that may occur during the filling, Ethiopia is threatens to unilaterally fill the Renaissance Dam, the matter that Egypt rejected throughout the negotiations as it constitutes an explicit violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement and the Ethiopian obligations under the rules of international law,” the statement read.
Egypt deplored the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry’s comments which “do not help create an appropriate environment for tangible achievements in the negotiations.” Cairo affirmed its participation in the upcoming meeting for the foreign and water ministers of the three countries in the US Department of Treasury on January 13, 2020, in light of the outcomes of the Washington meeting that was held on November 6, 2019, the statement said.
At the end of the final round of a four-meeting series between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in Addis Ababa on Thursday, Egypt and Ethiopia announced that the two-day discussions reached a deadlock again.
Egypt said that it attempted to create a convergence of views via submitting a group of proposals and studies that guarantee for Ethiopia to generate electricity continuously and efficiently during periods of severe drought without causing harm to the Egyptian water share. However, no agreement was reached between the three countries on the amounts of water that should flow from the dam in the different hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile river, where the dam is being built, Egypt added in a statement on Thursday evening.
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At the end of the final round of a four-meeting series between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Addis Ababa, the three countries failed to reach an agreement on the operating rules of the dam, announced
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said “Egypt’s proposal will make the Dam be filled in 12 - 21 years’ time and obliges Ethiopia to compensate the “cumulative deficit” for the water it uses for Dam filling.”
The difference between the countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
Later, the United States sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks, and it has been agreed on November 6, 2019, in Washington to conduct the four rounds of meetings in the presence of representatives from the United States and the World Bank. The first meeting was held on November 15-16 in Addis Ababa, while the second round was on December 2-3 in Cairo. The third round convened in Khartoum on December 22-23.