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Russia proposes offer to mediate Egypt and Ethiopia

Russia says it is ready to mediate Ethiopia and Egypt on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

Russia _ Ethiopia
Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia,Evgeny Terekhin, (left) and Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister, Gedu Andargachew (right). Photo credit : MFAE

June 8, 2020

US-brokered “negotiation” over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) failed in late February after Ethiopia withdrew from it in light of growing public pressure against the US’ tendency to impose pro-Egypt terms of agreement on Ethiopia.

Since then there has been an unconfirmed report that Russia has an interest in mediating Ethiopia and lower riparian countries over the GERD.

On Monday, the Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Evgeny Terekhin, held talks with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Ethiopia, Gedu Andargachew, in Addis Ababa.

The Ministry announced that Ambassador Terekhin has expressed Russia’s readiness to “support negotiation” over the Grand Renaissance Dam.

An update from the Ministry, published on social media, said on Monday that the Ambassador “expressed Russia’s readiness to help Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt achieve mutually beneficial agreements on their negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.”

However, the Ministry did not say a word if Ethiopia has accepted the offer for Russian mediation and if there is an agreement on the part of Egypt, too.

The statement from Gedu’s office said “Gedu Andargachew appreciated the recent briefing made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on the situation of GERD for calling the tripartite to resolve issues according to international law and accepted principles.”

Egypt has expressed interest in a tripartite talk after Ethiopia and Sudan reached an agreement to continue talks of technical talk on the filling and operation of the GERD.

The African Union has also expressed interest in mediating the three countries to reach an agreement based on principles of mutual benefits.

Ethiopia generates over 80 percent of the Nile water and has never been using its share of the resource either for generating Hydroelectric power or agriculture.

With the growing need for generating electric power to cater to 65 percent of its population access to electricity and as part of the effort to make sufficient power available for the manufacturing sector, Ethiopia is now pursuing its rights to exercise to use its water resources while observing all relevant international laws.

Egypt has a “historical right” claim over the Nile river the basis of which is a colonial-era agreement to which Ethiopia was not a signatory.

Ethiopia said that it will start filling the dam starting July of this year.  However, clearing the land which is needed to fill the dam is not yet started.

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  1. I sometimes wonder if our leaders made the best decision one huge dam instead of building 15-20 small dams. Having said that what is done is done. Ethiopia as well as the other country need water. I believe tapping the tributaries if the Nile is actually one alternative. We don’t have any law that prevents the poor Ethiopian farmer from using all the water he needs from the river that flows in his backyard. No quota, no permission and absolutely effective.


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