FILE - Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
CAIRO – 17 June 2020: Talks to resolve differences on filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam were concluded, after failing to persuade Ethiopia to refer the issue to the prime ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan as a last chance to reach an agreement, Egypt’s water resources minister said on Wednesday.
Egypt has earlier warned that Egypt may resort to other options given Ethiopia's intransigence and rejection to reach an agreement with Egypt that would secure the latter’s water share. Other options may include raising the issue with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to prevent Ethiopia from adopting unilateral measures that may undermine the Egyptian rights.
Following the talks on Wednesday between the water resources ministers of the three nations on GERD, Egyptian Minister Mohamed Abdel Aaty said the discussions have not achieved any significant progress, due to Ethiopia’s “rigid” stances on the technical and legal sides.
Ethiopia has refused to allow the three states to conclude a binding agreement that is consistent with international law and affirmed sticking to reaching only guidelines that Ethiopia can amend individually, the minister said.
Ethiopia also sought to obtain an absolute right to establish projects on the upper reaches of the Blue Nile River, Abdel Aaty said. It also refrained from agreeing on including a binding legal mechanism to settle disputes and effective procedures to face drought in the GERD agreement.
Eventually, the Egyptian minister thanked Sudan’s initiative to call for these discussions and hailed its serious efforts to back talks with the aim of reaching an agreement.
The American National Security Council posted Wednesday a tweet in which it urged the Ethiopian government to reach a “fair” deal on GERD with the downstream countries of Sudan and Egypt.
The tweet said that Ethiopia should show strong leadership and strike a deal before filling the dam with Nile River water.
“257 million people in east Africa are relying on Ethiopia to show strong leadership, which means striking a fair deal. Technical issues have been resolved – time to get the GERD deal done before filling it with Nile River water!”