Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – Reuters
CAIRO – 11 June 2020: Egypt and Sudan expressed reservations over the Ethiopian paper submitted and discussed during the third day of resumed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) tripartite meetings.
Following the meeting, Egypt said the Ethiopian paper on filling and operating GERD, inconsistent with the principles and rules previously agreed upon by the three countries [Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia] in the negotiations brokered by the United States and the World Bank.
“It also considers to be wasting for all technical understandings reached in previous rounds of negotiations” Egypt’s government stated.
The meeting held on Thursday, is the third in a row since receiving a Sudanese invitation to resume the negotiations of the Renaissance Dam.
On June 9, Egypt issued a statement saying that ‘the invitation came late’, “which necessitates setting a tight timeframe for negotiations to be held and concluded, in order to prevent it from becoming a new tool for procrastination and shirking from the obligations stipulated in the Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries in 2015.”
The statement also affirmed that Egypt will participate in this meeting “to explore whether there is political will to reach an agreement, and to confirm the continuous Egyptian goodwill in this regard, in accordance with the invitation received from the Sudanese minister of irrigation."
In June 11 statement, however; Egypt re-affirmed its commitment to the document brokered by the United States and the World Bank on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on February 21st, in Washington, as “an equitable and balanced agreement, enables Ethiopia to achieve its development goals while preserving the rights of Egypt and Sudan”
Egypt stressed the need for Ethiopia to review its position that undermine the possibility of reaching an agreement. It was also noted that Ethiopia should refrain from taking any ‘unilateral measures’ in violation of its legal obligations, especially the provisions of the Declaration of Principles Agreement concluded in 2015.
Egypt also stressed the importance of Ethiopia to be negotiating with “good intentions”, similar to the approach that Egypt has taken since the negotiations began in order to sign a fair agreement that takes into account the interests of all three countries.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this year praised Egypt’s decision to initial the brokered document, which includes rules for filling and operating the controversial dam in Ethiopia. He also warned Ethiopia from filling the dam before an agreement is reached.
The Sudanese government has also warned against filling the reservoir of the dam before reaching an agreement between the three countries involved in the dam issue.
Filling the dam's reservoir would affect Sudan more than any of the other parties due to the dam's proximity to the Roseires Dam in southern Sudan, Government Spokesman and Minister of Culture and Information Mohamed Saleh said in a statement on Monday.
The difference between the three Nile basin 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.