Dam negotiation with lower riparian countries, namely Egypt and Sudan, concluded in a way that observes the dignity and interest of Ethiopia, negotiators briefed Ethiopian Prime Minister
By Staff Writer
January 19, 2020
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his cabinet members are reportedly briefed on Sunday about the latest negotiation on the filling and operation of Ethiopian Dam which took place in Washington DC between January 13 to 15 of this year.
According to state media, Ethiopian Press Agency, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele who has been the chief negotiator on the Ethiopian side told the Prime Minister and his cabinet that the negotiation in Washington concluded in a way that defended the interests and dignity of Ethiopia.
Seleshi Bekele is also cited as saying an agreement has been reached, with Egypt and Sudan, to complete the initial stage of filling the dam in as little as three years.
During the filling stage of the dam, the flow of the water will not reduce over 10 percent.
It is also indicated that US officials had the impression that lower riparian countries will not get water from the Nile river until the filling of the dam is completed, which is not the case. Explanation from experts has helped US authorities understand the Ethiopia’s position.
Ethiopia, from which 80 percent of the Nile water originates from, has been advancing an equitable and mutually beneficial use of the Nile water position throughout the negotiation. In the course of the negotiation, Ethiopia assured lower riparian countries that the Grand Renaissance Dam will not affect Egypt’s share of the water.
Egypt, on the other hand, has been asserting “historical right” position which is entrenched in the colonial document to which Ethiopia was not a signatory.
Currently, Ethiopia’s $5 billion dollar dam is said to be 70 percent completed and could start filling as early as this year.
The consensus reached between the three countries caused outrage in social media among Ethiopians for the agreement was seen as one that has compromised the interest of Ethiopia – from which over 80 percent of the Nile water originates from.
A day after completion of the negotiation, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew and Seleshi Bekele had a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington to clear skepticism among Ethiopians regarding the contents of the latest negotiation.
The three parties will meet in Washington again later this month to sign the final document. The World Bank and the US Department of Treasury will attend it as “observers.”
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