Egypt Calls for Help in Meeting of the Dammed

  • Egypt accused Addis Ababa of continuing to impede the negotiating tracks over the past four years since the signing of the Declaration of Principles.
  • According to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the tripartite meeting of the irrigation ministers "did not result in any positive development."
  • The differences between Cairo and Addis Ababa centered on how the dam would be filled and for how long.

Negotiations of the Renaissance Dam between Egypt and Ethiopia, which concluded Saturday evening in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, reached a “dead end,” according to the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation. Egypt called for the activation of Article 10 of the Declaration of Principles Agreement, which requires the participation of an international party in negotiations to mediate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and to bring closer views and help reach an agreement that preserves the rights of the three countries.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) formerly known as the Millennium Dam and sometimes referred to as Hidase Dam, is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia that has been under construction since 2011. Once completed, the reservoir could take anywhere between 5 to 15 years to fill with water, depending on hydrologic conditions during the filling period and agreements reached between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

“Ethiopia has previously obstructed the process of conducting studies related to the environmental, economic and social impact of the Renaissance Dam on the two downstream countries,” Mohammed Osman, the spokesman of the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said,  Osman accused Addis Ababa of continuing to impede the negotiating tracks over the past four years since the signing of the Declaration of Principles.

Osman in Khartoum, quoting Sudanese sources, said the differences between Cairo and Addis Ababa centered on how the dam would be filled and for how long. Last Friday, the Ethiopian government briefed diplomats and ambassadors from several countries on the current status of the Renaissance Dam project and the latest negotiations in a meeting.

For his part, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said he had “followed closely the results of the tripartite meeting of the irrigation ministers in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia,” which, he said, “did not result in any positive development.” During the last meeting in Khartoum, Ethiopia refused to discuss the operating rules of the Renaissance Dam and insisted on limiting the negotiation of operating rules during the filling phase of the reservoir.

Water politics in the Nile Basin involve ten countries in northeastern Africa— Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt with varying climates. The modern history of hydropolitics in the Nile basin is very complex and has had wide ramifications both for regional and global developments.

A spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation said that this contravenes Article 5 of the text of the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed on March 23, 2015, and contravenes international norms for cooperation in building and managing dams on common rivers.

During the round of negotiations held in Khartoum from September 30 to October 5, Ethiopia presented a new proposal “which is a reaction to all the principles agreed upon governing the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam,” the Egyptian spokesman said. The Ethiopian proposal did not include ensuring a minimum annual discharge from the Renaissance Dam and dealing with future droughts and protracted droughts.

On the other hand, Ethiopia rejected a proposal submitted by Egypt in August on the process of filling the dam reservoir, as it “violates the agreement signed between the three countries on the fair and reasonable use of the waters of the Nile River,” according to the Ethiopian Minister of Water.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.


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