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Ethiopia holding national consultation as dam talk stalls

Ethiopia is having national consultation days after discussion to draft final agreement on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam failed in Washington DC. Egypt claimed last week that agreement is about to reached on the issue.

Ethiopia _ Dam _ consultation
National consultation on dam talk in the office of the prime minister. Photo credit : Office of Prime Minister

 borkena
February 17, 2020

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called a meeting in his office on Monday to discuss the Ethiopian dam negotiation, which US government representatives say will be finalized at the end of February  2020.

A day after his return from three days working visit to the United Arab Emirates, the Prime Minister presided over the meeting which chief negotiators, stakeholders, technical experts, and prominent Ethiopians including former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegne attended.

“The meeting discusses the direction of upcoming negotiations on the dam,” the office of the Prime Minister disclosed on Monday.

Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy, briefed participants regarding where the negotiation is at this point and what the issues are.  

On February 13, 2020, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, announced that discussion about preparing a document for the agreement on the filing and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) ended without consensus.  

Seleshi Bekele seems to have confirmed the information from the Ambassador. On February 14, he tweeted, “The 12-13 February, 2 days Ministerial negotiation in Washington on #GERD rules for filling and operation is ended. Ministers reviewed progresses on technical issues & legal articles. Progresses are made but the agreement still needs more work to be finalized by end of this month”

Seleshi Bekele _ Ethiopia _ Dam _ Egypt
Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy, Seleshi Bekele, briefing government authorities and stakeholders on the Nile Dam negotiation. Photo credit : Office of PM

National consultation with government authorities and relevant bodies, he said, is the next step as far as Ethiopia is concerned. And the meeting in the office of the Prime Minister on Monday is framed as one.  It is unclear if the matter is going to the House of People’s Representative for a discussion.

Sources who claim to have insider information reported last week that Ethiopia is standing on her own in the negotiation at this point as all the parties to the negotiation, including the United States and the World Bank who are attending as “observers, are mounting pressure on Ethiopia.

Public opinion, as expressed in a number of social media and other platforms, swings appears to be firm that Ethiopia should in no way compromise its right to use water from the Nile to develop despite mounting pressure from Donald Trump’s Administration and the World Bank.

On the other hand, a News source from the Middle East reported this past Saturday saying “Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan reach a final deal on filling Renaissance Dam.”

According to the source, the United States and International Monetary Institute would take part in drafting a document for a final agreement, which is expected to be signed at the end of February.

The long term operation of the dam, including during times of drought and extended dry period, are some of the issues that turned out to be controversial between Ethiopia and Egypt.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Almost all Ethiopians are stakeholders .

    Almost all Ethiopians are prominent.

    WHO IS TO SAY WHICH ETHIOPIANS ARE STAKEHOLDERS AND WHICH ETHIOPIANS ARE NOT?

    WHO IS TO SAY WHICH ETHIOPIANS ARE PROMINENT AND WHICH ETHIOPIANS ARE NOT?

    PP EPRDF ELITES GOT NO AUTHORITY TO LABEL THESE FEW PEOPLE ABAY’S NATIONAL STAKEHOLDERS OR NATIONAL PROMINENT ETHIOPIANS .

    THE CONSULTATION ABOVE DOES NOT QUALIFY TO BE CALLED A NATIONAL CONSULTATION SINCE ONLY A FRACTION OF THE STAKEHOLDERS AND A FRACTION OF THE PROMINENT INDIVIDUALS ATTENDED THIS MEETING.

    IT IS A CONSULTATION BUT NOT A NATIONAL CONSULTATION .

    NATIONAL CONSULTATION MUST INCLUDE ALL ELIGIBLE NATIONALS THIS MEETING DIDNOT .

    CHRISTIAN TADELE IS MORE PROMINENT THAN THOSE THAT WERE RECEIVING APPLAUSES AT THIS MEETING!!

  2. This whole meeting should have been transmitted on MEDIAS social medias and the governmental AND PRIVATE televisions live, with series of similar meetings held continuously being transmitted on television social medias, maybe even at some point making it open to the public with maybe people calling in on telephones and participating.

    Also every Ethiopian embassies around the world should hold similar meetings.

  3. I don’t think the Trump administration will abandon the old country out and dry on this issue. To me all three countries(Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia) have legitimate issues/expectations. The trick is how they can hammer out the concerns and arrive at amicable solutions. They have tried and failed several times. Since the shouting began, all three countries have gone thru their own internal traumas where regimes were disgracefully brought down. Yet still all is not well for all of them. They are not out of the woods yet. Questions many ask is ‘how governments on shaky grounds can negotiate a deal that will bear heavily not only on the current one but also on the future generations? Well, that is the best you have now. The old country needs to be very, very careful not being caught up on the spur of the moment, on the raw emotion being tossed around in every direction. What will Egypt do if no agreement is reached and the old country chugs along finishing and the dam followed by the start of the filling? What? Military strikes? That is utter foolish. It may end up losing it all and jeopardizing the people of Sudan in the process. If it opts for a military solution, it has to invade the old country and hold the entire territory where the Blue Nile originates. That means cities like Bahr Dar will be under the occupation of el-Sisi’s forces. Go ahead and laugh because that is exactly what I am doing!!! In fact, I am on the floor laughing my, you know what!!!! This not a healthy impasse for All three of them. They need to grow up/wise up to the occasion. I hope the US and World Bank will continue to get involved and help temper the raw emotion flying in every direction out of these three stakeholders.

    • Ittu Aba Farada

      Prosperity Party is the child of TPLF. Noone in Ethiopia is prospering as the child of TPLF. To return the favor the child honors the full retirement as planed from the get go for TPLF.

      USA has abandoned Ethiopia when they put an internationally known terrorist group rebel fighters TPLF in power and gave blind eyes for Crimes Against Humanity that got committed since 1991 by TPLF.

      PP is a child of TPLF .

      • Dear Countryman Jinkassa,

        I hear you out and loud. I understand your anger and share your displeasure. Yes the old country was taken to the cleaners with more than 30 billion US dollars in just a decade. That was not a chump change. Experts are saying that the robbery by those in and connected to the regime(they were from every region) intensified after the election scare of 2005. Those connivers and despots realized that there days at Arat Kilo were somewhat numbered. They did the same pilfering that Mengistu did after the 1989 coup attempt on him. It was said that he was even melting golden figurine left by the late emperor and shipped them straight to Zimbabwe. That was when he realized that it was not a matter of if but when his enemies will be coming and knocking at his front door. The same was with these deacons of Marx/Lenin and Mao. That is their practice of ‘Workers of the world unite!’ which means ‘you continue uniting while I am dipping my sticky fingers in your national coffers.

        Now, going back to 1991 I have a different take on what was really going on then. Beginning 1989 it was clear that Mengistu and his demonic administration was losing major battles after major battles on the war front which clearly showed his army has lost its fighting spirit. By 1991 the rag tag ‘rebel’ army headlined by those ‘deresas’ of Marxism was heading towards the capital thanks to the beasts of burden provided by Tamrat Layne and Aba Dula. Without these two rallying the youths of Amhara and Oromia on the side of the TPLF smart alecks, there could have been no way that Meles and Sebhat Nega along with their cohorts would able to set their foot and see a daylight anywhere in Amhara or Oromia. They were already at the vicinity of the capital a year before 1991. So there was nothing USA or anyone else could do to stop them from entering the capital. Addis(Finfine) was la citta aperta for the rebels!!! The situation was also the same in Eritrea. The rebels there had effectively taken over the entire province except the capital. What the USA did then was to me something to be taken as commendable. It has effectively helped avoid a situation where the remaining die-hard soldiers had dug in throughout the capital and wage a pitted battle with the rebels. That would have meant hundreds of thousands of civilians being caught in the crossfire and dying. Millions could have perished in the capital alone with the city being left in ruins just like what we had seen in Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia. So for the rebels it was fait accompli by May 1991. We should never forget the fact that if it was not for the ‘kill first and ask later’ policy of that demonic Mengistu both rebels in Eritrea and Tigray wouldn’t have a chance if the regime in Addis/Finfine was headed by a pragmatic and crafty leader. Not a chance!!! Mengistu and his Paris trained advisors came on the scene. The greatest gift the rebel were given was when Mengistu and his commies nationalized private property. He then carried out the ‘night of the long knives(piano wire) in Asmara and other towns. That was when the ranks of the rebels there swelled from a few hundreds and suddenly into thousands. Even the late emperor who was supposed to have been an ‘archaic’ ruler did not fall for their device. For the rebels, Mengistu was a God sent gift. So the blame should rest squarely on that door knob and blood thirsty Mengistu.

        Then again, this is my take and apparently nobody is perfect.

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