Ethiopia will not accept any mediation on the dam but tripartite consultations

Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister of Ethiopia briefed senior government officials regarding Egyptian position on the filing and operation of the Ethiopian Dam. Egypt wants to open an office at the project site to monitor the operation of the dam.

Ethiopia _ Dam _ Egypt
Ethiopian Mega Dam project. Photo : screenshot from FBC video

borkena
October 18, 2019

Ethiopia reiterated on Thursday that it will not accept any mediation regarding talks over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). 

The only accepted negotiation as far as Ethiopia is concerned is the tripartite consultations – a consultation where two downstream countries (namely Egypt and Sudan), and Ethiopia are negotiating partners. 

It was Water, Irrigation and Energy minister, Seleshi Bekele, who spoke about it up on briefing senior-level government officials in the capital Addis Ababa. 

Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) cited him as saying “Ethiopia will continue to reinforce and peruse the trilateral technical consultation, as it is the only option for resolution of differences among the three countries with respect to the dam.” 

He described the Egyptian proposal on the filling and operation of the dam “unfair” and “unacceptable” as far as Ethiopia is concerned. He was more explicit about it “it is unacceptable as it prohibits water use in upstream of GERD and implying denial of current and future use,” as quoted by ENA. 

Egyptian position for the continuation of the annual average flow of the Nile river in the course of the long term operation of the dam also seems to be problematic from the Ethiopian perspective. Egypt demanded that the Dam releases 40 billion cubic meters of water annually which Ethiopia says is impossible given the fluctuating nature of the river and growing climatic change which is affecting the volume of water. 

As well, he told senior Ethiopian government officials that as part of its proposal Egypt has requested a guarantee of 165 meters above the ground water level for its High Aswan Dam. 

He noted that in its proposal, Egypt requested the continuation of the average natural flow of the Nile water during long term operation of the dam. 

Another element of the Egyptian proposal that made it difficult for Ethiopia is that Egypt wants to open an office at the project site which will be run by Egyptian personnel – something entirely unacceptable as Ethiopia sees it a blatant violation of its sovereignty.

The proposal “heavily infringes the sovereignty of the country,”  Seleshi is quoted as saying. 

He also remarked that  Ethiopia will only accept recommendations National Independent Scientific Research Groups (NISRG)  with respect to the filling and operation of GERD.

As Egypt swings to bullying and despising Ethiopian sovereignty, not to mention diplomatic efforts and political works to weaken Ethiopia, Sudan seems to be a constructive partner in the negotiation process. 

The latest round of talks between water ministers of the three countries which took place in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, was not a success for which Egypt blamed Ethiopia, and called for the intervention of international mediators. 

Egyptian President El-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister are due to meet in Russia on the sidelines of  Russia-Africa summit. The Ethiopian Dam will be a talking point. 

Meanwhile, news of the Ethiopian government downsizing the electric power generating capacity of the Ethiopian Mega dam project, in what many Ethiopians seem to think is a submissive approach to Egypt’s bullying, is triggering opposition to the government. However, the Ethiopian government authorities in charge of the project claim that the change in plan has nothing to do with Egyptian proposal. 



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