A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015 - AFP A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015 - AFP

Foreign Ministry expresses discontent to 3 states over GERD involvement

Mon, Oct. 14, 2019
CAIRO - 14 October 2019: Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Hamdy Louza held a meeting on Sunday with ambassadors of Germany, Italy, and China to express Egypt’s discontent over the work of their companies in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The deputy minister pointed out that there are no studies that indicate the economic, social, and environmental impact of the prospective dam, and that the fact of not reaching an agreement on filling and operating the reservoir among the involved states is not a secret, a statement by the ministry indicated.

Louza underlined that Ethiopia is not abiding by either the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015 or the international rules. The deputy minister stressed that the international community must bear its responsibilities with regard to affirming Ethiopia’s commitment to not causing major harm to Egypt and pushing to reach an agreement that takes into consideration Egypt’s water interests.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi announced on Sunday that he had agreed with the Ethiopian prime minister to meet in Moscow and discuss the crisis in order to find a solution. Earlier this month, Egypt announced that deliberations of the technical committee had reached a deadlock as Ethiopia insists on filling the reservoir over three years while Egypt wants to extend the duration to seven years so as its water share does not sharply get reduced.

The Declaration of Principles stipulates that the reservoir must be filled and operated after reaching consensus with Egypt and Sudan, and that if negotiations fail, the mediation of a fourth state would be sought. Those two points out of ten in the Declaration of Principles were highlighted by President Sisi on Sunday while answering questions on the crisis after delivering a speech at the ceremony held to celebrate the 46th anniversary of Egypt’s victory in 6th of October War in 1973.

During his visit to New York to attend the 74th session United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74), the president met with American influential figures to explain the crisis. Also, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry met on the sidelines with his South Sudanese and Burundi counterparts to express unease over the course of negotiations.

The current water share of Egypt is 55.5 cubic meters per annum; however, the country suffers from water poverty as the individual’s share is 500 cubic meters per annum given the population size that is 100 million. The water poverty line stands at 1,000 m3 per capita per year.

Ethiopia started the construction of the dam in 2011, diverted the flow of the Blue Nile in 2013, and was due to complete the project in 2017 but a delay has occurred and will last until 2022 because of funding issues.

The dam is designed to have a height of 475 feet, a length of 5,840 feet, and a capacity of 73 billion cubic meters of water. That is in addition to a hydroelectric plant with an installed capacity of 6,000 megawatts, as indicated by Britannica.
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