Authorities say Ethiopia has not, will not sign an agreement that compromises national interest

Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Gedu Andargachew and Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy say Ethiopia has not signed an agreement that will compromise its interest and will never do that in the future

Ethiopia _ Ethiopian Dam
Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States Fitusm Arega (left), Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew (middle) and Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Seleshi Bekele (right) during a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington . Photo Credit : Ethiopian Embassy in Washington

By Staff Writer
January 17, 2020

The terms of agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan following a two days of negotiation in Washington DC between January 13 and January 15 2020, has triggered mounting criticism from Ethiopians from all walks of life. 

The U.S. government Department of Treasury and the World Bank attended it as “observers.” 

A day before the agreement, President Donald Trump, who expressed his admiration for Egyptian president and to whom he pledged support in the Ethiopian Dam talk, met with Foreign Ministers from the three Countries.    

For many, the agreement, which is not yet final, does compromise Ethiopia’s right to use its share of the Nile water more than 80 percent of which originates from Ethiopia. 

Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Gedu Andargachew, along with Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, had a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC just a day after the agreement between the three countries was announced. 

Apparently, the press conference was organized in response to outrage in social media about the contents of the agreement. Unlike in the past, Egyptian media outlets covered the story with caution – seemingly not to trigger resistance from Ethiopians.  VOA news, on its part, reported it as if there was a deadlock while it is clear from the joint statement of the negotiating parties that an agreement has been reached although it is to be spelled out further by a team of legal and other experts. 

Gedu Andargachew and Seleshi Bekele said during the press conference that Ethiopia not compromise its national interest in the points of consensus and will never do that in the future too. This stand, they said, will remain Ethiopia’s standing principle.

The negotiation is needed from the point of view of cooperating with lower riparian countries for Nile is an international river and will in no way compromise Ethiopia’s national interest, the two ministers said during the press conference. 

They have also said that filling the dam will start this year, and it may take anywhere between 4 and 7 years to complete filling of the dam, according to Gedu Andargachew and Seleshi Bekele. In the agreed upon consensus text, the dam will only fill in the months between July and August (exact dates of the duration unspecified). 

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