Ethiopia will continue diplomatic effort on GERD, says Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopia remains committed to equitable use of the water, says government

Ethiopia _ Dam
GERD Project design. Source : Travel Ethiopia

July 7, 2020

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared in the parliament on Tuesday. The 2013 Ethiopian budget was the agenda item but he also faced questions related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Some parliamentarians noted that Egypt has been making an effort to disrupt Ethiopia’s development, at times through the agency of political forces in the country that are inimical to Ethiopia.

In video footage from state Media, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, one parliamentarian is seen posting the question to the Prime Minister.

“…using water from Abay [the Nile River] is a matter of survival for Ethiopia. Where are we in terms of the diplomatic effort and what is the future plan in that direction?” he said. The level of project completion is another question posed to the prime minister.

Abiy said that negotiation with lower riparian countries is not halted. He also said that Ethiopia will continue to have a talk with countries from the lower and upper course of the Nile River.

In terms of negotiation strategy, he painted the “African problem with African solution”, which is a reference to the involvement of the African Union as a mediator, as a sort of success story for Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia will continue to uphold the principle of equitable use of the water by all riparian countries,” he reiterated.

The Prime Minister seems to have a positivist view of project completion.  It is extricated from poor management after the new leadership, he asserted.  To demonstrate that, he said that the dam is currently at 560 meters high which is 35 meters up from what it was when he took over power.

Meanwhile, the state media reported that preparation for filling the initial stages of the water is completed and will start filling some time in mid-July.

On June 29, 2020, Hachalu Hundessa, an Ethiopian singer who is popular for his Oromo songs, was killed in the capital. A preliminary investigation from fourteen suspects, as disclosed by the Attorney General, reveals that the killing was orchestrated to trigger a civil war in Ethiopia. And the government claims that the internal and external enemies of Ethiopia took part in the planning.

Egypt covertly implicated in the assassination. For most Ethiopians, Egypt has always been looking for a means to destabilize Ethiopia, and extremists Oromo nationalists are perceived to have links with Egypt. In the 19th century, Egypt attempted to directly engage Ethiopia militarily but failed twice after losing battles in Gundet and Gura. Since then Egypt has rather been trying to destabilize Ethiopia indirectly.  There is a growing bitterness towards Egypt due to what many believe to be Egyptian relentless effort to destabilize Ethiopia exploiting internal fissures. 

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