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What Ethiopia, Sudan have in common in GERD negotiation

If the statement from Sudanese Minister for Irrigation and Water Resources is true, Ethiopia and Sudan are on the same page on important principle

Ethiopia _ Sudan
Professor Yasser Abbas, Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, during press statement. Source : SUNA

June 18, 2020

Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Professor Yasser Abbas, had a press conference on Wednesday in Khartoum.  If what he said is true, based on the Sudan News Agency Report, Sudan and Ethiopia are close to reaching an agreement.

SUNA cited him as saying that  Sudan’s position on “The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations is based on a basic principle in international law, which is the right of the riparian states to obtain fair and reasonable use of water without causing harm to others,”  an ideal for which Ethiopia is committed.

The minister also indicated that his country supports Ethiopia’s right to development including electric power from the dam. 

Sudan’s stance, as expressed by Professor Yasser Abbas, aligns with Ethiopia’s commitment to benefit from its water resources equitably and in accordance with international law.

The reference to international law is understood, as far as Ethiopians are concerned, to be within the context of decolonized international law.

Professor Yasser’s press conference came after the completion of the seventh meeting of tripartite negotiation which was held virtually.

Without discounting the complexity of divergence points, he described the atmosphere of the 7th meeting as one that was, “positive” and “fraternal.” He also said that it was marked by optimism, as reported by SUNA. 

The Sudanese Irrigation Minister even quantified the level of agreement between the three countries on technical issues related to the filling and operation of the dam. He puts it between 90 to 95 percent.

The disagreement is on legal matters related to the dispute resolution mechanism between the three countries and the extent of obligation after the agreement is signed. The point is not elaborated further.

The other key points of disagreement are whether the agreement is on GERD or the entire water sharing between the three countries.

Ethiopians have rallied against the Ethiopian government that should not enter into an agreement regarding the entire Nile river as it is seen as something that needs the involvement of all Nile riparian countries. And most Ethiopians have the understanding that the Ethiopian government has a firm position on the issue.

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy has released a statement following the seventh tripartite meeting. According to the statement, the negotiation was on the “Guidelines and Rules for the first filing and annual operation of the GERD.”

The statement also confirmed that most of the technical issues are resolved during the seventh meeting. However, it noted that there are outstanding legal issues. Sudanese delegation wanted to consult with their Prime Minister on it. Egyptian position is unspecified.

Ethiopia on the other hand said that “the negotiation demands the Governments of Egypt and Sudan to take a visionary road leading to sustainable cooperation that respects the sovereignty and mutual benefit of the countries.”

Earlier in the week, Ethiopia expressed its concern about Egyptian dual approaches to the negotiation and pointed out that it will not return to the tripartite negotiation if Egypt’s rigidity causes collapse to the tripartite talks.  

Project completion has reached 74 percent, and Ethiopia is clearing land for the water catchment area to start the first phase of filling next mo

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  1. Dear Patriot Editors:

    The matter I want to discuss with you has to do with issues that evolved out of the construction of the dam on the Blue Nile. As you have already noticed we have been getting mixed messages out of the umpteen negotiations between Egypt and the old country. The current leader and those before him have been saber rattling to kowtow our proud nation and others that share the waters of the Nile. Why not? They were armed to the teeth when they were on the laps of the old Soviet Union and the three western powers USA, UK and France since 1979. Egypt has been receiving in upwards of one billion dollars of military aid alone every year since then. You will all remember that Egypt was a sworn enemy of Israel until the 1979 peace treaty. The USA did not left Israel out to the wolves. It has been getting in upwards of 3 billion dollars in military assistance alone every year since then which is the counter balance to do for Israel. Egypt now has more than 200 F16 in its arsenal. It also has more 100 French made multi role military jets in its depot. It also has several British made modern military air craft in its inventory. In the meantime, Ethiopia has been getting a little more one million dollars in military material from the USA every year. I personally believe that those black folks deserve the same counter balancing military aid from the USA and the other two powers. I just read news a few minutes ago that el-Sisi has ordered his army to mobilize and invade Libya, a sovereign nation. By this declaration of war on Libya he is sending his last warning to the old country. I believe this is a test run for him to see the world reacts because GNA in Tripoli is a UN recognized government including the USA. Israel has been given ship loads of the patriot missiles and other surface to air missiles to protect itself from any threats including missiles, rockets and of course military jets like the F16’s and Mirages. I believe the old country deserves the same military assistance in surface to air missiles like the patriot rockets or at least in a form of technology transfer. I said the old country deserves it because it has been in the front line fighting terrorism saving American lives. We can say the entire Ethiopian population has done an incredible job in the intelligence area by tracking down terrorists and sharing life saving information with the American and EU intelligence. It will be a travesty of justice if a single black man/woman is harmed by el-Sisi air force with jets paid for by the tax payer’s money.

    I call upon you dear patriots to summon our level headed and well read compatriots here in our Diaspora to start formal discussions with members of the congress and the Trump Administration. From what I read in the history books the old country was abandoned to the aggression of that demonic fascist regime of Italy in the 1930’s. When Mussolini used banned chemical weapons members of the then League of Nations did not do anything about it besides just talking about it. They even imposed sanctions on the old country while they kept supplying Mussolini with badly needed oil and other materials. I have read in the history books that when our gallant countrymen kicked butt on the ground Mussolini showered them with the deadly mustard gas and other banned chemical weapons. Egypt also has a documented history of using banned chemical weapons on civilians before as in North Yemen in the 1960’s. History must not repeat itself. These three powers and now Russia have been arming their saber rattling orphan in Cairo to the teeth for no justifiable reasons for decades. They have to do the same with what they have been providing for Israel. I am not asking for F16’s but USA, UK and France have the obligation to provide surface air missiles only to the old country so those innocent black folks who have done anything wrong except exercising their Almighty graced rights would be able to protect themselves from F16’s Mirages and Su-35’s.

    War mongering el-Sisi seems to have drawn the sword now. It would be downright dirty shame if any one of this American/British.French made military hardware is used to kill innocent black folks.

    If and when you summon our men/women of letters for this sacred mission please avoid those who once used derogatory terms to address the current administration. You will need those who are capable of harnessing their emotion and who will remain calm and collected during presentations and discussions. There must be compatriots who are close or even work in various government departments or even as congressional aids and already have established rapport with decision makers and legislators. I am sure the current administration will listen. This is what I wanted to talk to you. Good luck. May The Almighty Our Creator Bless You and Your Family!!!

  2. Dear Editors:

    I can’t emphasize enough the fact that el-Sisi declaration of war yesterday was not just another group but on a sovereign state just like the old country where the UN Security Council has recognized the Government of National Accord as the sole legitimate executive authority in Libya since 2015. He is itching to show off his pan handled F-16’s on a sovereign nation. Mind you Libya is also as ‘lily’ Arab as el-Sisi himself. I’m sure you got my message.


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