Egypt wants to maintain colonial era water arrangement,says Ethiopia

Ethiopia says that the talk has to focus on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and interest to maintain colonial era water resource arrangement, on the part of Egypt, is unacceptable.

Egypt _ Ethiopian Dam

borkena
June 14, 2020

Egypt has been claiming about “historical rights” over the Nile river all along. It is based on the arrangements with the British Colonial government in the 1920’s and 1950’s. Although more than 85 percent of the Nile water originates from Ethiopia, the country was excluded from the agreement.

Ethiopia says that Egypt reflected same position in the latest round of the tripartite virtual meeting is chaired, which happened on Saturday. Egypt on the other had accuses Ethiopia of “rejecting fundamental issues.”

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy has issued another Press Release on Sunday. It reads as follows :

PRESS RELEASE ON THE CONTINUATION OF THE TRIPARTITE NEGOTIATION ON THE GERD

THE MINISTRY OF WATER, IRRIGATION AND ENERGY14 JUNE 2020

Addis Ababa (14 June 2020): The tripartite negotiation between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the Guidelines and Rules for the first filling and annual operation for the GERD continued for the fourth day on Saturday, 13 June 2020, via video-conference in the presence of the observers.

Under the Chairmanship of the Sudan, the three countries negotiated on technical issues on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD. Based on the filling schedule of the GERD, the countries reached understanding on the first stage filling, volume of environmental flow, guidelines for first stage filling and the approach to drought management rules. The Countries also reached an understanding on dam safety rules, environmental and social impact assessment studies, and entry into force of the Guidelines and Rules. On Sunday the three countries will exchange the Guidelines and rules incorporating the outcomes of the negotiation.

While recognizing the progress made in the previous days of the negotiations, Ethiopia would like to stress that;

First, the ongoing negotiation is not on the allocation of the Blue Nile waters. Second, Ethiopia will be bound by the guidelines and rules for first filling and annual operation of the GERD that it will sign with the two downstream countries. Third, such a commitment will only be guided by the Declaration of Principles of March 2015 that stipulates relevant international principles that are adequate for a GERD project. Fourth,any attempt to confuse the international community or campaign to exert maximum pressure on Ethiopia to accept colonial based treaties that it is not a party to and foreclose its legitimate right of using Abbay/the Blue Nile camouflaged in the guidelines and rules on the first filling and annual operation is unacceptable.Fifth,Ethiopia stresses that it is a genuine negotiation based on good faith and transparency that will result in finalizing the process with a win-win outcome. 

In this context, The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal democratic Republic of Ethiopia has found the Press Release of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt of 13 June 2020 regrettable. Despite the accusation of the Spokesperson that the “negotiations are faltering because of Ethiopia”, the truth is we have made progress and if the ongoing negotiation is to falter it is only because of Egypt’s obstinacy to maintain a colonial based water allocation agreement that denies Ethiopia and all the upstream countries their natural and legitimate rights.

On the way forward, the countries agreed to take stock of the outcomes of the negotiation and continue the negotiation on outstanding issues.

The negotiation will reconvene on Monday, 15 June 2020, with the chairmanship of the Egypt.



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