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Ethiopia:Success of negotiation proves”African solution to African Problem”works

Ethiopia says “African solution to African Problem” approach to negotiation effective

July 24, 2020

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia (and Former Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt), Dina Mufti said on Friday that the success of AU-led negotiation between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan is a success that supports the idea that it is possible to find an African solution to an African problem, Ethiopian News Agency reported.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa chaired the virtual negotiation between the heads of states of the three countries earlier this week, and the three countries have reached an agreement to continue technical negotiation on the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

The three countries were unable to reach an agreement during the United States brokered process in Washington DC. Ethiopia withdrew from it in February 2020 as the United States started to dictate the terms of the agreement forgetting that it was part of the negotiation as an “observer.”  As the US issued a statement warning Ethiopia not to start filling the dam before signing a deal with Egypt, Ethiopia abandoned the US-led negotiation entirely.  This week, Foreign Policy Magazine reported that the Trump administration is divided over policy response to Ethiopia’s refusal to sign an agreement that protects Egyptian national interest at the expense of Ethiopia. Cutting non-humanitarian aid to Ethiopia is among the policy options that the Trump administration might be considering, based on the report. 

Egypt attempted to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council which Ethiopia protested saying that GERD is a development project and does not constitute a security threat to the region in any way.

Ethiopia sees the return of negotiation to Africa as a diplomatic success. Egypt, on the other hand, was primarily interested in US-brokered negotiation.

This week, Ethiopia announced that it has completed the first stage of filling of GERD which means that the reservoir has now 4.9 billion cubic meters of water which is said to be adequate to start generating power with two turbines. Ethiopia exploited heavy rainfall in the past two weeks to complete the first phase of filling.

The remaining required water is to be filled as the construction of the dam progresses. Currently, the dam is at 565 meters above sea level. 

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  1. -It would be advisable to make GERD a fish farm rather than a power station because Ethiopia can build multiple power stations at other rivers in Ethiopia, that way all these could have been avoided but the EPRDF PP is fixated on making GERD a powerplant no matter what .
    USA poured billions of dollars to the corrupt EPRDF who became Prosperity Party & TPLF , the money was used to buy bullets by the corrupt government, this money was the root of all evil which initiates the killing , imprisonment, torture and oppression of the Ethiopian people.
    Those who pocketed the dollars drove up cost of living in Ethiopia to the extent where honest hard working Ethiopians cannot afford to survive unless they resort to life of crimes and steal. The enormous income level gap combined with CoronaVirus is making Ethiopia a country of cannibals, for the youth of Ethiopia not to loose any last hope Ethiopia needs to stop this widening gap of income levels so everyone can afford to exist with the income generated from their labor by not relying on income from crime and corruption.
    Quality of education is at an all-time low in Ethiopia with many of the youth planning not to go to school anymore due to safety concern by loosing hope on honest work.

    Ethiopia got 30+ billion dollars foreign debt already while Prosperity Party is asking for this foreign debt to be forgiven by cancellation, claiming Ethiopia cannot afford to pay back the foreign debt. If Ethiopia gets more foreign loan money from USA while USA knows Ethiopia will not be able to pay back the money , it will be irresponsible or it will be considered as setting up Ethiopia for failure , not paying foreign debt will disqualify Ethiopia from any more loans , by default Ethiopia will be denied any international loans forever, so to avoid that from happening it would be correct to stop pouring more loans towards Ethiopia from USA , WorldBank , IMF , EU and China since Ethiopia’s credit history is at stake. If a transitional government was formed Ethiopia would have navigated through this tough times much better , now the clumsy reckless PP is unable or is unwilling to lead in a safe manner which is very concerning , Ethiopia might even get sanctioned by the UN if war erupts between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Sudan is already confiscating Ethiopians’ properties in Sudan to ensure safety of Khartoum .

    Prosperity Party African Union AU are giving GERD’s “technical” militarily strategical informations to Egypt , as a result Egypt knows better how to attack the GERD dam . Knowledge is power , Egypt is getting power from PP AU.

    • Michael T. Namaga

      If the current negotiation facilitated by African Union fails to break the deadlock ,next it would be up to the Eritrean government to facilitate a negotiation which might bring the much awaited agreement.

  2. Donald Trump has decided to use every federal government institution as his own personal assistant. It is sad to note leader of the democratic world being slowly transformed into a country ruled by dictator. The VOA is one of those institutions, where Trump fired the management recently and replaced with his own personal aid types. The VOA was initially established to advocate freedom and democracy around the globe, but is now being transformed into personal propaganda machine for Donald Trump and his Republican Party.

    The article below reflects Donald Trump’s position regarding the GERD. It is so sad to note a long time ally of the USA that Ethiopia is (has been) being a target of Trump’s foreign policy tool in the Arab World. Ethiopia contributed troops during USA’s war in Korea, but that now seems irrelevant.

    Donald Trump is a serious challenge for Ethiopia’s survival, and Abiye’s government should continue to manage the relationship cautiously. I do not believe Donal Trump’s stand towards Ethiopia (and Africa for that matter, which he called shit hole) reflects a permanent foreign policy shift. Consider it only transitory malaise.

    During the 2016 election, I wrote a piece posted in one of Ethiopians’ sites recommending that citizens vote for Donald Trump, because I wanted Obama’s legacy to shine on the basis of two presumptions: (a) Donald Trump and the Tea Party he represented, which came into being out of hatred to Obama’s ethnicity, would mess up big time, and (b) because of that, people would be induced to re-examine their hatred towards Obama’s ethnicity and restore his well deserved legacy as one of the great leaders of the country how great President Obama was thus cementing his legacy. I was right on the mark regarding (a) but wrong on (b). The ethnic divide has not changed, people are still not coming out in droves to love Obama althought they seem to regret having voted for Trump.

    The above comments my explain why Trump is anti-GERD (and by extension anti-Ethiopia and Africa) I read the article below in that light.


    Ethiopia Fuels Regional Tensions with Next Phase of Blue Nile River Mega-Dam
    By Salem Solomon
    July 25, 2020 02:46 AM

    This frame grab from a video obtained from the Ethiopian Public Broadcaster (EBC) on July 20 and July 21, 2020 and released on…
    This frame grab from a video obtained from the Ethiopian Public Broadcaster on July 24, 2020, shows an aerial view of water levels at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba, Ethiopia.

    WASHINGTON – After Ethiopia acknowledged this week it has begun to fill the reservoir at its massive dam on the Blue Nile River, observers worry that neighboring countries may feel they are running out of options to respond to a long-planned energy project that could endanger their access to fresh water.

    Mirette Mabrouk, a senior fellow and director of the Middle East Institute’s Egypt Studies Program, told VOA that news about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being filled could ratchet up tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    She believes military aggression is “option Z” in a long list of strategic moves, but remains possible.
    A satellite image taken May 28 shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia.
    A satellite image taken May 28 shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile river in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia.

    “Nobody wants that kind of conflict. But I do think that if Egypt and Sudan have their backs up against the wall, it may be a final option,” Mabrouk said. “At least possibly for Egypt, with the understanding that Egypt understands very, very well that any military option is really not going to be in anyone’s favor.”

    In mid-July, reports emerged that Ethiopia had begun filling the 70 billion cubic meter dam, which lies along the Blue Nile tributary of the Nile River. The claims were backed by satellite images, which appeared to show the dam filling. Ethiopia had previously attributed the water to seasonal overflow.

    On Wednesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the dam had reached its first-year target for water.

    Press release on the follow-up Extraordinary Meeting of the Bureau of the African Union Assembly on the #GERD.
    — Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) July 21, 2020

    Ethiopia has said the dam will take up to seven years to fill. The first-year target was 4.9 billion cubic meters, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water and energy minister said, speaking to VOA Amharic.

    “There is no other option. Ethiopia has its own natural rights. Ethiopia doesn’t ask for water from Egypt. It is Ethiopia’s own water resource, and, [within] its sovereignty,” Seleshi said. “Therefore … [finding] a peaceful solution is for all parties to recognize developmental goals and find a medium where there is effectual development.

    “But it is clear that the path forward is not sustainable if one party gets zero and the other full benefits,” he added.

    Support from opposition

    Internally, Prime Minister Abiy appears to have gained support from some opposition parties.

    “We believe that it is a good thing that a certain amount of water has already started filling, and, especially when we look at the issue from the Egyptians’ perspective, their stance appears to be that they wouldn’t want a drop of water to fill,” Kejela Merdasa, public relations head of the Oromo Liberation Front, told VOA’s Amharic service. “And so, if you look at it from this perspective, it is a good sign that it is being filled. But even now, there is more work left to be done.”

    “The Nile dam is being built not with the intention of harming others, but so that Ethiopians can be self-reliant,” said Mulugeta Abebe, the deputy president of the All-Ethiopia Union Party. “It is great that the dam has reached this level of initial filling despite the environment where there are many internal and external armed groups, and our organization is happy to learn about the development.”

    Outside Ethiopia’s borders, the news has angered Sudanese and Egyptian negotiators who believe the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three nations forbids unilateral filling.

    ‘Nothing has shifted’

    Some observers say the new announcement hasn’t changed much. “The African leaders meeting on GERD [was] a non-event. Fundamentally, nothing has shifted. To sell it as ‘progress,’ ‘breakthrough’ is utterly misleading, if not dishonest,” Rashid Abdi, a Horn analyst tweeted.

    The African leaders meeting on #GERD a non-event. Fundamentally, nothing has shifted.

    To sell it as “progress”, “breakthrough” is utterly misleading, if not dishonest.
    — Rashid Abdi (@RAbdiCG) July 21, 2020

    “The situation is … past a dangerous moment, as Egypt, until now, has wisely not responded to [the] first filling by increasing diplomatic pressure and returning to the U.N. Security Council,” William Davison, the International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, tweeted.


    This week’s #GERD development at AU meeting was politically significant, as Egypt and Sudan agreed to keep negotiating despite Ethiopia beginning to fill reservoir without reaching an agreement. SU and EG had opposed that approach.

    — William Davison (@wdavison10) July 23, 2020

    Sudan has recorded a drop of 90 million cubic meters per day at its al-Deim station on the Blue Nile since Ethiopia began filling the dam. That could spell trouble for the nation’s access to fresh water.

    Sudan is 50% desert and Egypt is 96% desert, Mabrouk said, and both rely heavily on the Nile for fresh water. Egypt, for example, has about 560 cubic meters of water available per person, far less than the 1,000 cubic meters needed to be above the U.N.’s water poverty threshold.

    “The amount of water that Egypt gets from the Nile basin annually to date is more or less 55 billion cubic meters. Egypt uses between 80 to 90 billion cubic meters every year. And that difference has got to be made up by clever water use. And it’s mostly reuse of water,” Mabrouk said. “Egypt is very, very conscious of its water use and it’s been working on [it] a long time. It has cut down on water-intensive crops like cotton.”

    A quick resolution to the GERD conflict appears unlikely. Ethiopia says it will complete the dam between the year 2022 to 2023, but filling it might continue for a year or two after that, Seleshi told VOA Amharic.

    Horn of Africa Service’s Solomon Abate and Meleskachew Amiha contributed to this report.

  3. Who told this Mirette thing that military aggression is ‘plan z’? Who told her? Was it el-Sisi, his cabal or who? El-Sisi and his entourage may be infected with this untreatable sickness thinking Egypt is a superpower but they are not that stupid to even think about military option. They are very clever individuals for their own crafts. That is why they have been able to kowtow a country of more than 100 million people. They know better. With the military option the river may, I said may, choose to join its compatriot the Awash River in the Afar lowlands just outside Gowane. Did you dig it? Silt has built up, you know, that alluvial thing!!! You get the idea. It will be all Mother Nature again. Then this ‘expert’ and the rest of humanity will be asking ‘Where is the Blue Nile? Where did it go?’. Do you dig? So someone, I said somebody, may even not think about military option. If someone is dreaming about it he better wake up and apologize!!!! Stop barking at the wrong tree!!!!

    Having said that, those two fire spitting patriots, H.E’s Seleshi and Gedu along with the visionary PM know and understand the need of the brothers and sisters of Egypt and will never do a thing to harm them because they are the children of generous people who guide their daily lives in the Holy Scriptures of both religions. All they have been doing is harnessing their Allah deeded natural resources to pull their citizens out of abject poverty without causing any short/long term harm to their fraternal peoples near or afar.

  4. The article posted above seems to be ‘balanced’ in content and tried to present the positions of the two sides.

    However, Salem Solomon has made a big mistake, I’m not sure whether that is deliberate. In my view the title of the report is very biased and inaccurate – ‘Ethiopia Fuels Regional Tensions…..’? That is directly from Trump’s own mouth.

    Anybody that has been following the rhetoric so far won’t find it difficult to understand which side has been deceitful, threatening war, spiting fire, in any and every forum year in year out, month in month out, and day in day out. ‘Egypt Fuels Regional Tensions….’ would have been more appropriate.

  5. Subject: QUOTE: “African solution to African Problem”works” UNQUOTE

    Commentary, 27 July 2020
    Of course it works! It was NEVER adopted by AFRICANS, hypnotized by colonial civilization. It is simple as that. The sad part of it is this: the colonized people were never fully converted to the colonial maureders civilization and at the same time they were antipathetic to their own culture and history. So, Africans were left to swing in all directions culminating in no tangible result. The crime of colonial powers over the entire Black Race of Africa has no limit. In 1962 the liberation of Africa was heralded in a meeting of African leaders at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie, the King of Kings of the Tribe of Judah, anointed by the Almighty God. Fifty-eight (58) years later Africa is still stagnant with absolute indigenous Dictators. That is all AFRICA can do — so murmured colonial powers of yesterday. Diplomacy forbidding being open truthfulness.
    And so the title of my commentary and the first sentence of mine are all fake statements and hallucination of dreams.
    Dear Editor: If you find my commentary out of place and reject it, I don’t blame you. WE AFRICANS are very proud people to be labeled as backward in civilization. AMEN.


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