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Ethiopia,Egypt failed to reach an agreement, “Observers”want an end to it by late February

USA and The World Bank are attending as “observers” but there seem to be an interest to advance Egyptian interest at the expense of Ethiopia. More than 80 percent of the Nile water originates from Ethiopia.

Ethiopia _ GERD
Ethiopian team that attended the negotiation. Photo credit : Fitusm Arega

January 31, 2020

Egypt and Ethiopia failed to reach an agreement again on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

Washington meeting, which started on January 28 concluded around midday on January 31, as disclosed by Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy – the leading negotiator on the Ethiopian side.  It was supposed to be a final meeting to sign the agreement.

Ethiopia _ GERD negotiation

On Thursday, January 30, 2020, news emerged that  Ethiopian negotiators were under pressure to sign an agreement on the terms of that violates Ethiopia’s sovereignty.  Some in the Ethiopian team reportedly proposed that they need to return home for a consultation. The proposals for “water release from the dam in the event of drought” was one of the critical points that triggered the disagreement.

The US Treasury Department and The World Bank are part of the meeting as “observers,” and seemingly gave more weight to Egyptian interest to the point that Ethiopian negotiators felt the pressure.

Negotiating parties are to meeting again, starting next week to discuss the detailed legal and technical documents. The “observers” and Egypt seem to want an end to the negotiation by the end of February 2020.

The US Treasury Department has published what it called “Joint Statement of Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, the United States, And the World Bank.”

The full text of it reads as follows :

Washington, DC – The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and their delegations met with the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the World Bank, participating as observers in negotiations on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in Washington, D.C. on January 28-31, 2020.  At the conclusion of the meetings, the Ministers reached an agreement on the following issues, subject to the final signing of the comprehensive agreement:

1. a schedule for a stage based filling plan of the GERD; 
2. a mitigation mechanism for the filling of the GERD during drought, prolonged drought, and prolonged periods of dry years; and
3. a mitigation mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the GERD in drought, prolonged drought, and prolonged periods of dry years.

They also discussed and agreed to finalize a mechanism for the annual and long-term operation of the GERD in normal hydrological conditions, a coordination mechanism, and provisions for the resolution of disputes and the sharing of information.  Moreover, they also agreed to address dam safety and pending studies on the environmental and social impacts of the GERD.

The Ministers have instructed their technical and legal teams to prepare the final agreement, which shall include the agreements reached above, for a signing of the three countries by the end of February, 2020. 

The Ministers recognize the significant regional benefits that will result from this agreement and from the operation of the dam with respect to transboundary cooperation, regional development and economic integration.  The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of transboundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

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  1. Rather than Egypt wasting time talking with Ethiopia Egypt should start doing research for alternative solution . As PM Abiy said if needed millions of Ethiopians are ready to help Egypt achieve the solution.

  2. Ethiopian government officials reached an agreement already amongst themselves to comply with Egypt’s every demand including the demand for the water to be filled in 20+ years .

    In Ethiopian history 2020 is the lowest year for Ethiopia, being represented in the world stage with people that got every wish to do harm to Ethiopia, this is the lowest Ethiopia ever got.



    1. Ethiopian government officials PP EPRDF are only trying to milk the construction by filling their personal pockets as long as they can , according to their view GERD is a scam they perpetrated on bond purchasers stealing the money by giving bond purchasers false hope. Only less than 4% of the Gerd bond money came from TPLF OPDO supporters while more than 70% of the GERD dam construction BOND money ending up in the personal pockets of TPLF OPDO supporters.

    2. Ethiopian government sold seven times more bond than what it costs to build this dam.

    3. Bond purchasing means loaning , so many bond purchasers demand to get their money back with the PP EPRDF having intentions to continue stealing the money to fill their own personal pockets discouraging people from contributing to their country.

    4. Most of Ethiopia including the bond money purchasers are abducted by those leach Ethiopians that do anything in their power to discourage others from helping their country .

    P.S. Abiy is getting pressured from Azeb Mesfin to personally go to the GERD dam talk with Egypt and finalize the talk once and for all in a way war starts with Egypt that way the dam gets demolished with noone holding them accountable for not returning the bond money, the deal is expected to be made before the next election comes.


  3. I am still optimistic about the on-going negotiation regarding the dam. The way the parties handling this particular phase of the negotiation is not something to be discarded. This time they are all in agreement that the negotiation should go on and none of them have demanded the construction to be stopped. This time it is different in that they have target dates to come up with a final treaty even though the date has moved more than once. The way I see the date being a moving target is like another teaching/learning moment for all. If the date for final agreement changes, so what? None of the three countries declared one to be a drop-dead date!!! I see it as a wish list. The most important thing is none of them want to scuttle the effort and quit. I am sure Egypt knows that it will lose more than the other two if the negotiation breaks down but instead heads into an open hostility and destructive military conflict. I don’t think Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is remiss of him about the consequences of such reckless behavior. The loss will be more than losing just a tributary but the entire life sustaining water main. The old country will also lose the chance of a lifetime of the ability to generate electricity it direly needs to spread industrialization nationwide which is the only way it can pull its people out of nagging abject poverty. Failure may even lead to diplomatic isolation that must be avoided at all times. It shows me that all of the negotiators are hard nose negotiators. They have proven themselves to be tough cookies. Tempering of raw emotion is hardly needed here. Level heads should prevail letting one have what it lacks now without abruptly denying others what they have(need) for sustenance. I don’t think either USA or The World Bank seek benefits by illogically and unfairly favoring one over the other. This dam is a life changing undertaking for all three stakeholders. The dam will change them and the way they at the river from here to the end of time like no other time in the past. I see this ‘crisis’ both as a learning and TEACHING’ opportunity for our old country. I hope and pray that it will all lead to amicable conclusion(agreement). I wish our patriotic countrymen H.E.’s Obbo Demeke, Obbo Seleshi and their crew success in this pressure cooker and grinding endeavor. I am proud of them!!! The Almighty Our Creator Willing!!!!!

  4. Once again as always Addis Ababa people are doomed to stay permanently denied from holding protest under Prosperity Party. The protest about abducted girls got denied by PM Abiy Ahmed.
    Orthodox , Baldras , Addis Ababa University students …. are denied protest permits by Prosperity Party.
    It is time for Addis Ababa people to start Non Violent Resistance (NVR) against Prosperity Party PP by staying home for one day or more days and diasporas boycotting sending remittance from diaspora until Addis Ababa people’s freedom of expression is respected.

    • It looks that Orothodox church is administred and twisted by neftegna , corona virus that causes violence both in the secular and religious world.

      • The church is a timeless treasure of Ethiopia that has been administered by not only Neftegna, but past believers from Eritrea to Oromo. Sorry to burst your narrow narrative.


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