Egypt changes position in the last minute of Ethiopian dam talk in Addis Ababa, dead lock

Egypt changed its position in the last minute during the final round of dam talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Its new proposal for filling time for the dam is between 12 and 21 years which appears to be an aggressive position from the stand point of Ethiopia

Egypt _ Ethiopia _ Dam talk
Ethiopia’s water minister, Seleshi Bekle . Photo credit : FBC

January 9, 2020

The trilateral talks in Addis Ababa on the operation and filling of Ethiopian dam ended with no agreement, Ethiopia announced on Thursday. 

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have been holding a discussion in Addis Ababa for the last two days with the hope to resolve deadlock. The World Bank and representatives from the government of the United States of America also attended the talk.

Ethiopia’s Irrigation and  Water Ministry, Seleshi Bekele, said the agreement failed because Egypt came up with a new proposal regarding water filling of the Grand Renaissance Dam. 

Egypt wants the dam to be filled in a time span of 12 years to 21 years. There has been an agreement between the three countries before for the dam to be filled within in seven years time. 

Seleshi Bekele said that Ethiopia will never accept Egypt’s position regarding the timing to fill the reservoir of the dam. 

The ministers from the three countries will be heading to the United States this coming Monday to present on the technical meetings that have been conducted so far before the President of the World Bank and head of the US treasury. 

On November 6, representatives of the three countries agreed to invoke Article 10 of the Deceleration of Principle, which was signed in 2015, which means that they shall seek international mediation. 

With Egypt’s expressed position regarding the time needed to fill the dam (now 21 years), it is apparent that Egypt did intend to enter into international mediation. 

As is the case in the past, chances are  in Egypt’s new position Ethiopians will see malicious intent related to internal security. Many tend to see that Egypt is behind most of radicalized ethnic nationalist movements that are on the verge of ripping the country apart. Sometime in 2017, Ethiopian government officially accused Egypt of fueling internal stability. 

Given that history, it is questionable if Egypt’s last minute change in its position has some thing to do with buying time to exploit Ethiopia’s general election which is expected to be tense potentially leading to security crisis. 

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