Kinshasa encouraged Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to see 2015 Declaration of Principles as “a constructive basis” for the negotiation
The tripartite talk over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) resumed on Sunday in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, under the leadership of the current African Union chairman and president of Congo, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo
“We can not understand the problem of building the GERD without recognizing the growing need of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan for their transboundary water resources, and identify the importance of the Nile as a source of life and source of development for these three countries, ” L’Agence Congolaise De Presse (ACP) quoted him as saying.
Mr. Felix tends to see the 2015 Declaration of Principles as “a constructive basis” for the negotiation – something that Ethiopia has been calling for.
“President Félix Tshisekedi also urged participants to consider the “2015 Declaration of Principles” as a constructive basis for all technical and legal developments, and even for the possible establishment of a permanent framework for consultation,” ACP reported.
Before the Kinshasa meeting, Sudan and Egypt proposed the inclusion of the United States, United Nations and the European Union as negotiators in the dialogue – which Ethiopia saw as something that violates the 2015 DOP, and the principle of African solution for African problems.
The three countries have been unable to reach an agreement over the filling and operation of the GERD which is said to be about 79 percent completed. While Ethiopia seeks to complete filling of the dam in seven years by using its own share of the water, Egypt wants Ethiopia to fill the dam in over two decades. Also, Egypt wants to have an office on the project site to monitor the operation of the dam – which Ethiopia sees as a violation of Ethiopian sovereignty.
President Félix Tshisekedi “hoped that these two days of exchanges and deliberations in Kinshasa would provide the parties with an opportunity to examine and propose solutions to the outstanding technical and legal issues,” as reported by L’Agence Congolaise De Presse (ACP).
Ethiopia hopes to generate over 5000 megawatts of electric power from the GERD to provide about 65 percent of its population without access to electricity. In that light, Ethiopia sees the project as a key to significantly reduce poverty in the country – the reason that it is seen as a matter of existence for many Ethiopians. And the project was funded locally.
Egyptian President Abdul Fatah el-Sisi was ranting last week saying that if a drop of water is taken from Egypt, unimaginable instability will prevail in the region.
Meanwhile, the US encouraged Sudan to de-escalate tension with Ethiopia over the border in the Al Fashaga area.
According to a report by AFP, on Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had a telephone conversation with Sudanese PM Abdella Hamdok. He raised “the need to de-escalate tensions between Sudan and Ethiopia over the Al-Fashaqa border area, including recent commitments to engage in dialogue to resolve the issue,” as reported by AFP.
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