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Ethiopia’s new proposal on GERD filling, operation

Former Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne is to have a “role” in GERD negotiation. Egypt and Sudan rejected new proposal

Ethiopia _ Dam _ GERD
Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister, Seleshi Bekele.

May 11, 2020 

In the past few weeks, it was reported that Ethiopia’s new proposal regarding the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is rejected by Egypt and Sudan. 

But the details of it were not revealed. A report published by Wazema radio on May 11 ( in the Amharic language) highlighted components of what it called a nine pages proposal – detailing how and when Ethiopia is going to fill the dam.

Currently, the dam is 73 percent completed – as revealed by the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr. Seleshi Bekele. And Ethiopia intends to start filling the dam this July. Wazema Radio analysts say the plan does not seem to be realistic in light of the existing situation. 

In the first phase of it, a total of 4.9 billion cubic meters of water will be filled, and it takes two years to do so.  In the third year, Ethiopia will fill another 13.5 billion cubic meters of water.

But the plan could change if there is a change in the amount of water reaching the dam. If the water reaching the dam is less than 31 billion cubic meters, then water filling will be suspended -apparently until condition improves. Drought is a possible factor in a situation like that. One good point in regards to drought, according to Wazema, the document described it as a drought within Ethiopia, not elsewhere.

The second phase of the filling will take between two to five years ( that is on top of the two years needed to fill the first phase). By the end of it,  the dam will have 49.3 billion cubic meters of water. Wazema noted that the dam will not have 74 billion cubic meters of water, which is the total water holding capacity of the dam, at the end of seven years. It might take at least ten years to fill the dam. 

The document that Ethiopia prepared was intended to address the concerns of lower riparian countries but they have rejected it.  Egypt seeks to have a role in the dam administration and a quantitative guarantee regarding the water to be released from the dam. 

Egypt has already lodged a complaint to the Security Council of the United Nations claiming that it will cause security issues in the region if Ethiopia started to fill the dam without signing the agreement. 

Meanwhile, there seems to be a divergence in Ethiopia’s negotiating team. Some argue that it is not necessary to return to Washington negotiation. For them, it will just lead to unnecessary controversy and pressure. 

And there is a part of the negotiation team that holds the view that the negotiation should not be abandoned entirely. This group seeks to back to the negotiation and work on making a strong case for Ethiopia in a way to defend the national interest and sovereignty of the country. Based on the Wazema report, this view appears to be dominant. 

Another important consideration is that there is a proposed change to the configuration of the negotiating team. Owing to the technical nature of the negotiation, there is a proposal to designate the Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister as the main negotiator. The team is to be reinforced with persons with diplomatic skills and technical knowledge of the issue. 

There are reports that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has appointed former PM Hailemariam Desalenge to play a role in the negotiation. Another addition to the team is Motuma Mekassa who briefly served as minister of defense, among other roles. 

Egypt and Ethiopia were unable to reach an agreement in the US brokered negotiation that last part of which was in February 2020. Since then, Ethiopia opted out of the negotiation pursuing national consultations.

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  1. Egypt in particular knows very well that if it pushes this proud nation too far it will be nothing but playing with fire. It may cause that river to chart a new course in reverse and then there will be no Blue Nile to talk or worry about. I once again urge all those countries that armed Egypt with their most modern arms for no apparent need have the due responsibility to restrain their client from using them on innocent black folks who are trying to use their birth rights for the good of their poverty strapped citizens without causing any harm to their neighbors.

  2. Hailemariam Desalegne should remind the PM of Ethiopia that at the Sidama referendum we voted to form a Sidama State and the due date for the Southern ..State officials to relinquish their rule over Sidama is within less than a month time from now , the Sidama people had unanimously decided that if we the Sidama people donot get our statehood status by the due date which is less than a month time from now, then we got no other choice but to make secession from Ethiopia our main goal just because the federal and Southern state government’s failed to keep the due date as promised , if we afternoons donot get our statehood status within a month time from now our next agenda will be holding another referendum using Article 39 to make secession from Ethiopia a reality , only because the due date is not respected.

    Hailemariam Desalegne knows we the Sidama people are serious and sacrificed so many of our children to get our statehood so the current imprisonment and intimidation going on against the Sidama people will not deter us from our unified struggle actually it is making us stronger , so while the Federal Government concentrate on Egypt they should not forget about Sidama’s Statehood due date.

    In these times of Coronavirus it is vital we Sidama’s administer ourselves , extending the due date even by one week constitutes as denying us Sidama’s our health among many other things , that’s why we will resort to secession.

  3. I am fairly confident involving the World Bank and US government in further discussions would yield anything positive. It may even exacerbate the problem, derail the negotiations, and help Egypt’s cause. Mind you the Trump administration tried (and would continue) to use the dam for Trump’s re-election campaign as had become very obvious last time. Think also the President of the World Bank was appointed by Trump (reassigned from the Treasury Department), and hence it is fair to assume the fellow is an extension of Trump Administration and takes marching orders from Secretary Munchin of the Treasury. Neither the US Treasury nor the World Bank posses deeper understanding of Ethiopia’s views, the latter proving its support for Egypt at least over the past thirty years. Ethiopian Engineers are way ahead of any World Bank water Engineers as far as Ethiopia’s water resources are concerned. Take my word for it because I know.

    Those members of the Ethiopian team who advocate return to Washington must be scrutinized very carefully. It is not enough to state political expediency, but those must be backed up with solid technical analysis. All possibilities must be considered, including personal goals to seek residency in the US by falsely accusing the Ethiopian government as being dictatorial.

  4. Let me start by asking simple questions. Ethiopia contributes 86 % of the water that turned a desert Egypt into an oasis. As an international river, does Egypt recognize that Ethiopia has a share out of this River (Abay)? Don’t forget that Ethiopia is the source country for the river. Does Egypt think that it can keep on enjoying the same volume of water as it used to? Colonial powers came to Africa to take away African resources. What does Egypt doing at present? By hook or crook it is trying to enforce the same 1929 and 1959 agreement on Ethiopia, which Ethiopia is not part? This is a sheer colonial act. Let me ask another question. Did Egypt and Sudan invite Ethiopia, even for participation, when they divide the whole River water between them? As I see Ethiopia is a country whose resource become her own enemy. Don’t you know that Egypt is prospering and exporting fruits and vegetables from a desert, because Ethiopians are deprived of their right to use their natural resources? Egypt always check and make sure that Ethiopia will not have the potential to develop its own natural resources. How come Egypt takes an inventory of Ethiopia’s rain and tell to the world that Ethiopia has so much annual rain fall and it must leave the River for us? Does Ethiopian has the right to take an inventory of the natural resource that Egypt has, and claim it? Egypt also argue saying that Ethiopia must release so much water during Drought, Prolong Drought, and Prolong Period of Dry Years. Is it not ridiculous to see Egypt coming up with this crazy idea? The Drought is affecting Ethiopia but not Egypt. At the same time Egypt is asking Ethiopia to release more water so that it will not be affected by the drought. What about the Ethiopians who are suffering from recurring drought calamity and the famine? Don’t they come to their senses and understand the reality that the hegemonic era is over and it is time to respect and understand each other’s need and share the river equitably? From what I see and hear I am afraid Ethiopia is conceding too much. We better move carefully.God Bless Ethiopia.

  5. Subject: “Ethiopia’s new proposal on GERD filling, operation” borkena, May 11, 2020

    Commentary, 12 May 2020
    The Leaders of Egypt will keep on using the crisis for THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL advantage to keep on occupying the top most post in the governance of Egypt for their own private aggrandizement until they are feeble, even to count the money they amassed. FULL STOP

    As a cover up, Egypt ITSELF hss historical negative attitude towards BLACK NATIONS or as they call it “ABID” meaning ‘slaves’. The negative attitude of Egypt toward black people is NOT knew . Example: Once upon a time, not very long time ago, Egypt had an International Meeting with the United Kingdom — and ONLY United Kingdom — to decide on policy matters on the Blue Nile WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF INDEPENDENT ANCIENT BLACK AFRICAN COUTRY NAMED ETHIOPIA — THE SOURCE OF THE BLUE NILE. Just think about it!!! An independent ancient country was denied of its own resources and determined its Life by racist Egypt with a foreign colonial power the so-called GREAT Britain. . What is so great about open robbery of one’s natural endowment?!?!?!

    CIVILIZED Negotiation on any subject matter is something noble, mature and, in general , profitable to ALL, regardless of colour, religion, region, and any other obnoxious retarded thinking.

    Good wishes to Ethiopia in its willingness — with its HEAD up jn tandem with its History — for civilized negotiation on the matter. THE END


  6. What Egypt is trying to do with its latest ploy by filing a complaint with the UN Security Council is an effort to justify what may be next on her course of action. That may include using its sugar bubbled fake muscle on an innocent nation. There is this misplaced mentality in Egypt that it has the capability of beating anyone into utter submission. I don’t know which such adversary it had managed to knock out in its long modern history. The times of the pharaohs are a totally different history by a totally different kind of people in the leadership roles. Name one where it succeeded in kowtowing an adversary!!! Those of you who had the chance to live among them in the years leading up to the 1967 humiliation can recall all the jumping, the daring, you-are-not-enough-for-breakfast-for-me and the deafening saber rattling. Ranks of field marshals, admirals and 5-star generals were being handed out like candies to those no one knew where they had achieved victory in wars. Gamal Abdel Nasser was serious that he had beaten both Britain and France in 1956 by fighting them alone. The decisive role the Good Ole USA played in saving his sorry behind was never mentioned. He really believed in that lie he was telling his gullible people who were starving for glory. He also believed that he was equal as a prophet born to lead the entire Arab world and later on the whole of Africa. That was the reckless pomposity Nasser left behind for his successors and el-Sisi ain’t any different. But all of them are not just up-to-no-good saber rattlers. They can be so demonic to even violate international conventions. Nasser had used the banned deadly chemical weapons on innocent villagers in North Years during the three years leading up to 1967. He resorted to using banned chemical weapons when patriotic Yemenis with just bolt action rifles kicked his behind as if he robbed a bank. It is tantamount to those who armed Egypt with their modern military hardware they have the utmost responsibility to control their rowdy and spoiled child.

  7. Please read that as: Nasser had used the banned deadly chemical weapons on innocent villagers in North Yemen during the three years leading up to 1967.


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