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HomeOpinionAiming for consensus on Abay should be the target (By Kebour Ghenna)

Aiming for consensus on Abay should be the target (By Kebour Ghenna)

Kebour Ghenna Desta _Ethiopia _ privatization
Kebour Ghenna Desta Source : Social Media

By Kebour Ghenna
March 3, 2020

Today, we turn to the world of diplomacy – The Abay (or the Nile) negotiation.

Water diplomacy is a tricky subject.

If you think the Administration of Abye Ahmed struck a poor negotiation position by accepting the US and the World Bank as honest brokers on Abay, you’re right. To begin with, it was crazy to assume that the US, which is the main economic and military ally of Egypt – a country considered a key in Middle East stability – would be at the same time a neutral and impartial mediator between Egypt and Ethiopia!

For US to pressure Ethiopia on Abay through an implicit measure to cut economic aid is standard operating procedure; yet, in volunteering to act as a disinterested mediator the US was also trying to advance other objectives: (i) Advancing Egypt-friendly position to reduce the typical undercurrents of suspicion and resentment that continue to define Egypt’s interactions with the United States; (ii) demonstrating to the whole world the US is the only country capable of imposing its will anywhere, and (iii) ensuring the legacy of the US president as a man of peace.

While the present US position on Abay makes no pretense of impartiality, the end result can only be bad for all parties. For now, Ethiopia’s relationship with the US remains fairly positive in practice. Economic and political relations have improved since the advent of PM Abye Ahmed to power, with an increase in aid, growing interest in US direct investment, and rising people-to-people links with the Diaspora.

The question is what if the US insists ‘if you don’t make a deal, we’re not playing! No World Bank, no dime.’

What can Ethiopia do?… wail enlightened daytime talk show hosts.

We will live with less, damn it!! And less is not necessarily bad. It’s better than losing our national pride in this 124th anniversary year of the victory of Adwa.

Naturally, Ethiopia remains most relevant in a negative sense, in that the United States and other interested governments are most worried about the ramifications of state breakdown in Ethiopia. Despite the current political malaise, there is a general consensus among the population of the need by this, or any future government, to stabilize and normalize the domestic political, economic, and security situation, and strengthen the country’s role as a major regional player. But this remains dependent on major reforms that the Abye Ahmed’s regime for now seems unable in undertaking.

Similarly, one can observe that Egypt is no longer a vital part of U.S. regional policy and is diminished in its ability to impact the politics and security trends of the Arab world. Egypt’s relationship with Israel stands on its own terms and is dependent on American intercession. It is unclear what the United States will derive from supporting Egypt on Abay beyond a tangible softening of atmospherics.

For Ethiopia friendly and close relations with the United States should not entail diplomatic subservience, and healthy relations should be capable of withstanding divergences of interests and policies. In fact, the way out of this blind alley isn’t to favor Egypt over Ethiopia but to help Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan negotiate a consensus to secure continued commitments to improve water sharing and conservation in the Abay River basin.

With or without a deal, I hope Ethiopia will still act as appropriate: Maintain its national interest, while at the same time attempting to negotiate fair, equitable, and reasonable water allocation treaty with Sudan and Egypt.

Editor’s note : This article was first shared with the public on the Facebook page of Kebour Ghenna

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  1. Debretsion Gebremicbael had visited this GERD dam project more than any other human being , he went there back and forth from Addis Ababa hundreds of times if not thousands of times sometimes making two or three round-trips in the same week.

    Debretsion Gebremichael is the one that brought all these issue of economic sabotage by using his connections in USA, his sabotage includes to use his puppet Abiy start filling the water while the dam is still prematured, so the dam collapses without further detail safety/quality investigation on the dam is carried out, as long as the dam collapses one way or the other without the need for retrofitting of the dam becomes visible, then Debretsion succeeded .

    Abiy prosperity party got more office branches and employees in Tigray region compared to Dire Dawa , Harrari , Oromia , Amhara and Somali regions added together. This shows headquarters of the Abiy/Prosperity Party had been TPLF Tigray all along .

    Abiy is a puppet of TPLF.

    Oromo Community Organization of Washington, DC, is organizing a peaceful demonstration ON MARCH 13TH 2020 WHITEHOUSE , WORLDBANK AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT .


    Oromo Community Organization of Washington, DC, is organizing a peaceful demonstration

  2. Ethiopians are not liable to Gedu Andargachew’s signature ,since the EPRDF is an internationally known terrorist group was put in power by USA.

    EPRDF operated out of Egypt and Sudan for close to four decades .

  3. The elephant in the room of the General Consensus is Ethiopia is a failed state which is hanging on a thread . The thread we are hanging on is not ours as EPRDF PP tries to tell us it is our thread, it is of our enemies threads we are clinging on.So.??..

    Ethiopia right now does not even have the capacity to do a census count , so how are we are expected
    to hold an election or reach in a general consensus
    about GERD is mind-blowing while we repeatedly postponed the population census count. South Sudan , Eritrea and the rest might be counted or even vote for PP EPRDF for bribe as they showed up for support rallies for bribes. .Just the other day Eritrean refugees each got paid $200 Birrs per person for chanting for Abiy PP party in Ethiopia?

    Ethiopians need to wake up from khat dream and let others people wake up deal with the reality , not fantasy of general consensus. We don’t even know who is Ethiopian or not since sellouts bandas led the nation selling passports and ID cards for the last two years.

  4. I agree with all what you(Kubour Ghena) said except with you conclusion “attempting to negotiate fair, equitable, and reasonable water allocation treaty with Sudan and Egypt”. What is fair and equitable? It is hard to really answer what is fair and equitable for current and future generations. The current Ethiopian leaders should aim to negotiate a fair way of filling and operating the dam. We really don’t know what the future holds. Either Egypt maintains the explicit right on the Nile river or Ethiopia will also have a say on the river. Any negotiations should include a term exit the deal if one party is not happy about the agreement. Such as 30 years agreement or so. This give for future generations to renegotiate the deal if they are not happy about it. As much as possible it is best to avoid water sharing phrases. Fair and equitable water sharing should be with all 11 Nile basin African countries. Egypt and Sudan should sign the deal for fair and equitable water usage.


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