CAIRO – Ethiopia affirmed Friday that they will not sign on any agreement that would requires passing specific shares for water from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to the downstream countries; Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dina Mufti said.
He added during a press conference statements that the proposal submitted by his country in the negotiations reflected its commitment to taking the downstream countries concerns into consideration.
Mufti clarifies that his country is taking into account dealing with droughts timing as possible; however, “they cannot sign a binding agreement specifying the passage of specific percentages of water to the downstream countries”.
“Sharing the Nile waters is not just about three countries, it’s about other Nile Basin countries that should be involved into the negotiations” Mufti said.
In separate statements to The Ethiopian Herald, Mufti also said that U.S. and the World Bank’s mediation in the GERD tripartite negotiations will “damage it”.
“Not only do the U.S. and World Bank’s acts’ hurt the bilateral relations, they also damage the ongoing trilateral talks. No pressure would halt the construction of the dam, Ethiopia’s resolve to realize its flagship project,” Mufti told the Ethiopian newspaper.
Six officials and congressional aides told Foreign Policy, July 22, that The US administration is considering suspending some aid to Ethiopia, as Ethiopia’s prime minister announced the completion of the first filling of the Renaissance Dam, which heightened tensions with Egypt over fears of water shortage.
The three countries had expected at the time to sign an agreement in Washington on the filling and operation of the $4 billion dam, but Ethiopia skipped the meeting and only Egypt has initialed the deal.
Mnuchin 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 sponsorship of negotiations by the US and the World Bank started in November last year after rounds of failed negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said, Thursday that his country has suspended negotiations on GERD for further internal consultations.
This move comes as a result of Ethiopia’s change of the negotiation agenda and adding new conditions.
In the meantime, head of the Sudanese technical delegation in the negotiations of GERD Saleh Hamad, expected that the African Union “would put matters into right perspective” with regard to filling and operating the Dam.
Hamad added in statements to Sky News, that Sudan has many options on dealing with the Renaissance Dam, adding: “We will take the necessary steps to protect our water rights.”
Earlier, Abbas sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Relations and International Cooperation in South Africa regarding the developments in the Ethiopian stance on the negotiation process.
Abbas considered that the letter he received from his Ethiopian counterpart on August 4, raises serious concerns regarding the current negotiations process.
In a letter sent to South Africa, which currently presides the African Union (AU), Egypt retaliated its total rejection to the Ethiopia unilateral acts concerning the filling and the operating the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, announced the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in a statement on Wednesday evening.
The letter included Egypt’s rejection to the unilateral act committed by Ethiopia when it conducted the first of phase of the filling the dams reservoir with Nile Water on July 22, 2020, without going back to the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan], whose shares of Nile water could be affected by the operation and the filling of the Egyptian dam.
The Egyptian letter also voiced Egypt’s refusal to an Ethiopian proposal concerning the points of contentions, asking for reaching a fair and comprehensive legally binding agreement between the three countries.
Two days ago, both the Sudanese and the Egyptian Ministries of Irrigation said that the tripartite negotiations on the GERD are suspended to discuss an Ethiopian offer.
A meeting was held on August 4, 2020 between the ministers of irrigation of the three countries, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, it included the experts from the African Union and Monitors from the United States and the European Union.
The Egyptian and Sudanese representatives said that the Ethiopian offer contradicted what was agreed during a meeting held on August 3, 2020, which stated that the negotiations should focus on the outstanding points in order to reach a final agreement.