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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopia rejects Egypt's proposal on Renaissance Dam as it infringes on sovereignty

Ethiopia rejects Egypt’s proposal on Renaissance Dam as it infringes on sovereignty

Egypt seeks to dictate tripartite talk and intends to infringe on sovereignty on the issue of Renaissance Dam construction. Ethiopia is not letting that happen.

Ethiopia _ Egypt _ Dam project
Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, Irrigation and Energy , Seleshi Bekele. Photo credit : FBC

September 18, 2019

Tripartite talk over the construction of Ethiopia’s mega-dam on Nile River in Cairo on Sunday was unsuccessful. Egypt blamed Ethiopia for it.

The Middle East Monitor cited on Wednesday Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to report that Ethiopia has “refused” the Egyptian Proposal on the Renaissance Dam during the latest talk in Cairo which was attended by Sudan as well.

However, the report did not spell out details of what the Egyptian proposal was. What is reported is that technical matters were not discussed “because of Ethiopia’s refusal to discuss the proposal that Egypt has already offered to both countries.”

As it turns out and based on Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, Irrigation and Energy – Seleshi Bekele-, it seems the case that Egypt rather intended to dictate the terms of agreement regarding technical matters including filing and operating of the Renaissance Dam.

In a press conference with local journalists which was called to share updates regarding the progress of the dam, and also the outcome of the recent dam talk in Cairo, Seleshi said two of the turbines will start generating power in December 2020.

He also unveiled details of the latest disagreement during the tripartite ministerial-level talks for which Egypt accuses Ethiopia.  Egypt wants Egyptian engineers to be part of the Ethiopian Dam construction Project the Ethiopian water minister says is, rightly, infringement on Ethiopia’s sovereignty – as reported by DW Amharic service.

As well, Egypt wants the Renaissance Dam to release 40 billion cubic meters of water annually ,which does not seem to be practical from an Ethiopia’s point of view, and maintain Aswan Dam height at 165 meters. The amount of water the Renaissance Dam can release annually is between 29 and 35 billion cubic meters of water annually, according to Gedion Asfaw, who is a member of Ethiopian negotiating team, according to a report by Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC)  

Much of Egypt’s position seems to be informed by its claims of “historic rights” over the Nile water 85 percent of which originates from Ethiopia. And Egypt’s explanation to its claim is the 1929 and 1959 agreements over the Nile to which Ethiopia is not a party.  Ethiopian authorities, including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, have reiterated that Ethiopia is committed to equitable use of the Nile water. 

Ethiopian political pundits who discuss the issue seem to question if there is a sincere interest on the part of Egypt to negotiate Nile water use with the principle of Equity in mind. In the past, Egypt has been accused of meddling in Ethiopian affair by way of using radical Oromo ethno-nationalists forces to the extent that Ethiopia had to summon Egyptian Ambassador to Ethiopia sometime before Abiy Ahmed came to power. Egypt denied the allegation.

The three countries are to hold an emergency meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, from September 30 to October 3. In this meeting, Ethiopia, and Sudan will present their proposals too. And then water ministers from the three countries will have a meeting on October 4 and 5. If all goes well, the ministers will sign an agreement based on the outcomes of the Khartoum meeting from September 30 and October 3.

Ethiopia seeks to generate about 6000 MW of power from the Dam when it is completed and a significant portion of it will be exported to neighboring countries including Sudan.

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  1. Get’em tiger!!!
    Egypt is either bluffing or recklessly playing with fire. Here is one cardinal question I am posing to everyone here and I want an ocular answer which means your answer should be based on what you actually see. So here it is: Where is the Blue Nile located at its place of origin? At the mouth of Lake Tana, right? Where is Lake Tana located? In Ethiopia, right? Ethiopia is the owner of Lake Tana, right? Hello!!! Is someone upstairs? It is like Honduras trying to stop the USA from harnessing the Mississippi River because doing so will deny the Gulf of Mexico the flow of fresh water to sustain fish life. Whether Egypt likes it or not the dam will somehow be completed and up running. So what is Egypt going to do about it? Send one or two of it clunky F-16’s and bomb the dam? Well then the river may stop flowing in the direction of its current course. Rivers, you know, sometimes they change routes. Such reckless threat and action might trigger a ‘huge earthquake’ that may unleash an ‘alluvial tsunami’!!! When this happens(alluvial tsunami), rivers always flow backwards. Instead of flowing south as they always did, they flow northward and instead west, they flow east. Then everyone can say, ‘case closed!!!’ You know what I mean?

    Egypt!! Itadub!!!

    • Dear friend. I completely disagree with you. I know that the Lake Tana and the origin of Blue Nile originates from Ethiopia. But the River Nile is an International Nile for which there is an International Law for Rivers which states the rules for the countries sharing the same river. The main source for the water of Blue Nile is the rain that comes from the sky and then it flows from Ethiopia to Sudan and Egypt. This water course has been working for centuries, may be. Ethiopia does not have the right to change the nature or to violate the international law for rivers. Try to think it the other way. If the rain falls on Ethiopia were too much for whatever reason, for example, the water will flow through the River Nile and it may cause damage to Sudan and Egypt, in this case, is it possible that Sudan and Egypt blame Ethiopia that the too much water came from Ethiopia’s territory has damaged Sudan’s or Egypt’s land?! is it possible that Egypt and Sudan say to Ethiopia please compensate us for the water that has been flowing from your territory to our lands for centuries?!!. No single country on the basin of an international or a regional river should be allowed to proclaim that it is owning the river or to act on a selfish way to cut the water from the other countries sharing the river with it. You should understand these facts. No one can ignore Ethiopia’s right for development and electricity but no one can accept selfishness and violation to international law of rivers and violation to the nature and the historical rights of the countries sharing the River Nile with Ethiopia

  2. Subject: Ethiopia rejects Egypt’s proposal on Renaissance Dam as it infringes on sovereignty, borkena, Sept. 18, 2019

    Commentary, 18 Sept 2019
    Knowing the negative attitude of Egypt, it would be foolhardy to expect rational discussion with Egypt on the subject matter.
    1. Egypt will not listen to what Ethiopia is saying.
    2. Egypt, with its “superiority complex”, must have its way. In this context, rational discussion cannot happen.
    3. Egypt had made an agreement with a colonial power (Britain) about a matter of direct interest to Ethiopia without the attendance of Ethiopia — the SOURCE of the Blue Nile. Egypt didn’t care; doesn’t care now; and will never care about it.
    4. Egypt has “superiority complex” and thus insidious negative attitude towards Black Africans in totality, thus making it difficult for it to behave in a democratic and rational manner with a society that it calls ‘abid’ [slave].
    5. Egypt can only sit down and discuss with colonial European powers — like Britain — but never with Black Africans, on equal standing, who had direct interest on the subject matter.
    6. In summary, Egypt will never accept any arrangement that does not reflect a FULL CONTROL of the Blue Nile, implying that Ethiopia has no saying – worthy of saying — on the Blue Nile. In short, Ethiopian interest is subordinate to Egypt’s interest, at Egyptians approval. It is undeniabley aged negative attitude of Egypt towards Black Africa.
    7. In the above dangerous scenario of negative attitude, the peace of the region can easily be disturbed at a colossal price upon all concerned and beyond. THE END


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