Egypt: Ethiopia impedes reaching agreement on Renaissance dam

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Sun, 22 Mar 2020 - 05:46 GMT

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Guba, Ethiopia- CC via Flickr/Pierre Markuse

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Guba, Ethiopia- CC via Flickr/Pierre Markuse

CAIRO - 22 March 2020: Ethiopia aims to impede reaching an agreement on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD], said Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti on Saturday.

In an interview with the “DMC Evening” talk show on the DMC channel on Saturday, the minister added that Egypt has asked Ethiopia to not fill the dam’s reservoir with water during the drought period or to allow small quantities of water to not cause harms to Egypt’s share. However, he added, the Ethiopian side does not want to abide by any commitments, saying “we have given ultimate flexibility.”

A project such as the Renaissance Dam has always had problems and it was scheduled to complete its building in 2014, but has not been completed yet.

Abdel-Atti added that Ethiopia tries to impede reaching an agreement on the dam since 2011 as it had done with the three other dams with Kenya, which has been harmed due to the Ethiopian attitude without reaching any deals.

Ethiopia has been advised to conduct some adjustments to the dam construction and that is why its building did not complete on time, said Abdel-Attai adding that they did not update us on the latest development concerning the construction of the dam.

The difference between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia 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.

Late February 2020, Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries. The Ethiopian announcement came in response to an American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian Government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S.and WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

Since then, Egypt diplomatically has been lobbying against the Ethiopian intransigence concerning the dam issue; Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made European and African tours to discuss the file of the Ethiopian dam with a number of world leaders.

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