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Ethiopia, Egypt unable to come up with mutually agreeable legal document

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are expected to sign agreement on the operation and filling of the Ethiopian dam by the end of this month. But no agreeable legal document so far.

Ethiopia, Egypt , Sudan
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project / File

February 11, 2020

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have been preparing a detailed legal document on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam.

All the parties to the negotiation evaluated the legal document for a week. And there was a consultation on several issues related to the objective of the mediated talks.  

However, no agreement is reached. Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, disclosed on his social media page on Monday the negotiating parties (Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan) could not jointly prepare a document that all parties could accept without any problem.

While stating that Ethiopia believes in equitable and fair use of the water, he underscores that Ethiopia will not sign any agreement that will compromise its right to use the Nile River.

Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele, arrived in the United States on Monday. His first business was to “review results so far by the legal and technical teams of Ethiopia negotiating with Egypt and Sudan on GERD. Number of articles and issues are not yet resolved…”  But the result is one that the Ethiopian Ambassador in the US revealed. No agreeable document.

The foreign affairs and water ministers from the three countries are meeting again on Wednesday, this week, in Washington. It is a follow-up meeting. US secretary of Treasury and the World Bank are attending the meeting, as was the case in the past few months, as “observers.

Extremely alarmed about the ongoing negotiation, most Ethiopians believe that Donald Trump’s administration has been putting immense pressure on Ethiopia via the World Bank and The US Treasury Department.  

Activists, concerned Ethiopians, and opposition party leaders are warning the Ethiopian government not to sign an agreement regarding the Nile river as they believe that the talk should be focused on the Ethiopian dam.

In a forum organized by the Institute of Strategic Affairs, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Water and Energy Minister, assured Ethiopians Ethiopia would not sign the agreement if a single word in the legal document compromises Ethiopian sovereignty and national interest.  

He reiterated his position in a twitter message on Monday:  “…We, the Ethiopian team, continue to work vigilantly in advancing our national interest.”

Egypt seeks to place the responsibility to provide water during an extended dry season and drought situation on the Ethiopian shoulder – and this is something that Ethiopians are opposing. They argue that Ethiopia does not have any water debt to Egypt.

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  1. I think they eventually will. They will and MUST arrive at an agreement by cutting thorny corners here and there. The bottom line here is the old country need the dam to generate electricity in abundance that is badly needed for its sorely needed development. Egypt also CAN NOT afford to lose it all!!! Bullying will not fly with the people of the old country. All everyone involved in this negotiation is to come to his/her senses. Raw emotion and ‘I am untouchable’ attitude will not cut the mustard. Again, Egypt CAN NOT afford to lose what it already has. The old country should also accept the fact is more than 100 million people outside its territory heavily depend on the waters of this mighty river. Both Sudan and Egypt have a huge sea gracing their borders. They must also have a substantial deposit of water in aquifers beneath their feet. I am encouraged to read comments and articles in prominent Arabic Egyptian news papers talking about such alternative source of potable water. Such discussions were rare even unheard of just for ulterior motives to not giving the old country a point in its argument. But it will take years to put the technology in place. One rattling a saber and the other one telling him ‘Come on and try me because I’m ready for you’ is just sheer childish. I am still hopeful that with the US and World Bank involvement some kind of amicable treaty will be worked out.

  2. Facts, Ethiopia doesn’t have any water debt to Egypt. And ensuring Egypt’s water security isn’t damn Ethiopia’s responsibility. No country should not say a word about how Ethiopia wants to use its water in its territory. We want that damn orange gone, and gone forever perhaps!

  3. Subject: “Ethiopia, Egypt unable to come up with mutually agreeable legal document, borkena
    February 11, 2020”

    Commentary, 12 Feb 2020
    Egypt will never accept the PHYSICAL REALITY of the situation — unless it “owns” it. .

    Egypt is still in the era where it can only negotiate with The Great, Great Britain >>>the conquerer of the past world era which has ‘GONE WITH THE WIND” [old Movie] many moons away.

    Egypt CANNOT bring itself to negotiate with BLACK Africa [‘Abid’ , they call it, with the utmost hatred]

    Egypt can only negotiate if the ’Abid” Africans come to their senses and leave the destiny of the Nile to Egypt.

    Egypt can only agree to an extent if the Civilized Ancient Land of the Pharos have complete SUPERVISORY control over the Nile, in its entirety. As far as the superior ancient land is concerned, it is a magnanimous deal for the Black ‘ABID’ Race.

    Egypt wishes to be recognized as the magnanimous and civilized master over the Continent of Dark Africa .

    By the way, the Political Leaders of Egypt are smart-alecks and use the ‘NILE PROBLEM’ as a hot and permanent item, thus diverting the attention of the ordinary people of Egypt from the internal nasty and corrupt political system >> a perfect swindling to occupy their highest political posts until they reach their senile age and buried six feet under ground As the French say: “C’est la Vie” Or perhaps, “GONE WITH THE WIND” would be a practical reality.

  4. Most Oromos donot care about electricity or about Abay . Oromia state got so many rivers where hydroelectric power plant could have been built , but almost never those OPDO leaders we seen ( Aba Dulla Gameda , Muktar Kedir , Workneh Gebeyehu , Lemma Agasses or Shimeles the Nephtegna Sebari ) none of them made building hydroelectric dam in Oromia their project because they got so many Oromo questions they bring up regularly and electricity is not one of them. They are satisfied with Qoqa dam which was built by the previous government.

    In regards to Water rights over Nile Abay, the current Abiy Ahmed Lemma Agasses military are not qualified to defend the water from Sudan and Egypt . Sudan and Egypt can simply walk in the border and claim Benishangul Gumuz as theirs then the Unqualified illetrate Oromo generals might ask for volunteers to lead Amara young to get slaughtered . Same as the then unqualified Meles Zenawi’s generals did at Badme, they asked for volunteers then they put the Amara volunteers in the Frontline hiding the TPLF Tigray military behind. Amhara got slaughtered in high numbers till this day Amara misses the fighters jegnoch , if only the Amara’s casualties for Badme were still alive :
    1.Lands of Amara would not have been remained invaded by Tigray (Wolqqait, tegede , Raya ..)

    2.other part land of Amara would not have been given to Sudan

    3.Amara students at Universities wouldn’t have been treated so ihumanely

    4. The Genocide against Amaras from different directions would not have lasted this long

    The reason why TPLF Shabiya started the Badme War was to weaken Amara and they succeeded . Eritrea got weaken too which Isayas didnot anticipate thinking Amara would just die without causing major damage to him, he thought wrong.

  5. Hailemariam Desalegn should run for the PM position at the next election. Only Hailemariam Desalegn can bring the much awaited agreement .

    During the period Hailemariam Desalegn was a Prime Minister he has sustained economic progress in Ethiopia after the sudden death of his predecessor, Meles Zenaw in 2012. He played role to complete the implementation of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I) and to start with GTP II. Between 2012 and 2018, major projects like Hawassa and Mekelle industrial park, Addis Ababa Light Rail, Gilgel Gibe III Dam, the new Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway, as well as Bahir Dar Stadium and other stadiums in Mekelle and Hawassa are completed. Hailemariam is accredited for the country’s continued rapid and double-digit economic growth, and Hailemariam led Ethiopia to partner Kenya in the ambitious USD24.5bn Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor – which includes a railway, highways, and an oil pipeline – which will provide his landlocked country and South Sudan with a new export pathway and reduce Kenya’s dependence on the heavily congested port of Mombasa. Moreover, Hailemariam has partnered Ethiopia with Djibouti to sign an agreement for a $1.55 billion fuel pipeline with developers Mining, Oil & Gas Services and Blackstone Group LP-backed Black Rhino Group. Both countries which are in the Horn of Africa signed framework agreements in September 2015 for construction of the 550-kilometer (340-mile) line to transport diesel, gasoline and jet fuel from port access in Djibouti to central Ethiopia. The joint project construction is scheduled for completion in two years. Hailemariam continued with the ambitious projects like the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which was launched by his predecessor, Meles Zenawi. Financially, Hailemariam’s government welcomed its first sovereign credit ratings from global agencies in 2014 – a B1 from Moody’s and B ratings from both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, which opened the door to international capital markets and foreign direct investment. However, the foreign investment capital comes from China, which has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and grants to assist the government-owned corporations’ ambitious initiatives, as well as other capital intensive projects like roads, bridges and railways.

  6. It looks like the current regime of the old country is somewhat, somehow cornered. I see parallels in what happened in 1973 with what I sense now. Now it has become one against five with the fifth one just brought in by a coincidence. This is the time when the old country needs its grandest sages, oracles of the thirst kind. It should try to come away with something and not the whole result it was expecting. Egypt just blasts itself into the 100 million mark in its population and there is no sign of slowing down. Do you think the old country has population explosion problem where livable land is shrinking but still available enough? That is until you see the situation in Egypt. That country never had enough livable space since the antiquities. If not for the life nurturing Nile there wouldn’t be any Egypt. As its population continues to gallop towards to the uncontrollable 200 million mark, it is going to pose great danger to its neighbor to the south and then the old country. I don’t see the end of danger to the old country even amicable agreement is reached on the dam this time around. Egypt domestic policy is heavily influenced by dogmatic creed leaders where the idea of population control(family planning) is a taboo. That is why you see a new baby is born every few seconds there. It is creating its own nightmare, the worst terror it had never faced. First at trickle then at its massive size, population migration toward south is inevitable. The old country with all its great rivers and untapped natural resources will be the prize on the eyes but it has to be driven into turmoil along the ethnicity and if it is all possible along the religion line. Successive regimes in Egypt have been working very hard to send the old country into chaos where they succeeded in only one of them. Our younger generation should be aware of that. They were ‘sympathizers’ to the cause of my Oromos and now they are even been heard about talking the ‘marginalization’ of our noble Amhara neighbors. Their scheme is very clear. That is to chip away at our unity because it will be easier for them to handle ‘those smaller guys’. That was why our various ‘liberation fighters’ had been given the best bread crumbs made with locally grown wheat and rice since the late 1950’s. So, bigots!!! You may have the chance once again if this negotiation falls thru. Abdel Fattah needs ‘Abds’ (house niggers) like you!!! But I hope and pray the wise and level heads will prevail. But right now, it seems that the old country is being cornered!!!

  7. Subject: “Ethiopia, Egypt unable to come up with mutually agreeable legal document”, borkena
    February 11, 2020

    Brief Commentary, 15 Feb 2020
    a) The position, feeling, negative attitude and snobbishness of Egypt on the matter is well known;
    b) On the “other” side (though neutral in theory), the inherent negative feeling, and abhorrence attitude of Donald Trump towards Black Africa is well known; and
    c) Sticking to the specific subject, it is good to see that Ethiopia has very sharp Representatives, with extraordinary and legendary of diplomatic skill [TCHewanet], coupled with determination to realize and protect the interest of Ethiopia, as well as the Black Africa in totality,


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