Egypt has been pressuring Ethiopian PM to finalize agreement over GERD within four months
There have been rumors for several years now that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reached a secret agreement with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The rumor has been getting stronger after the two leaders met in Cario in July of this year and “agreed to resume negotiations and reach an agreement within four months,” as reported by Arab News at the time.
Today, in what appears to be another PR stunt to cajole Ethiopians that his government is achieving remarkable gains for Ethiopia, PM Abiy has made it official that the fourth round of filling the GERD is completed.
“It is with great joy that I inform you of the completion of the fourth and final filling of the GERD. God has helped us Ethiopians for we have worked together…” Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared on his social media page.
However, his message is triggering mistrust, suspicion, and confusion at the same time.
It has been public knowledge that GERD is planned to have 74 billion cubic meters of water over a period of seven months of filling – during the rainy seasons. Egypt was pushing for decades of filling time which was among the factors that caused the stalemate during the negotiation. The number of turbines was already downsized to 13. It was initially planned to have 16 turbines with a plan to generate over six thousand MW of power.
After negotiation resumed, following a meeting between Abiy Ahmed and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in late August 2023 in Egypt, the Prime Minister seemed to be spinning story in a way to trigger controversy.
What he said today, when he was visiting the Project site with Oromia region president and the countries intelligence chief- Temesgen Tiruneh, Abiy Ahmed gave a conclusive statement that suggests the fourth filling is the last one. He said so while the civil engineering aspect of the dam is not completed.
His statement does not appear to be an error. The office of the Prime Minister has cited it in a brief social media update when it said, “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and high level government officials at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam during the fourth and final filling.”
Former Ethiopia’s Minister for Water and Irrigation, Seleshi Bekele has to tweet about the fourth filling demonstrating a stark difference from what the Prime Minister has said.
What Seleshi said is that this year’s construction and the fourth filing of GERD is successfully completed.
State-owned media, like EBC, are one the other hand quoting the Prime Minister on the matter giving the impression that what he said is right.
The office of the Prime Minister seems to, indirectly, confirm that Abiy Ahmed said what he meant. In a post where the office shared the pictures of Abiy Ahmed and some of this official at the GERD site, his office wrote “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and high level government officials at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam during the fourth and final filling.”
While many Ethiopians on social media are expressing concern about the PM Abiy Ahmed’s statement, at this writing neither the office nor PM Abiy Ahmed did not seem to care to confirm or make corrections.
It is public knowledge that Abiy Ahmed’s government employs a “confuse or convince” principle of governance ( and this was leaked from an executive meeting of his ethnic Oromo ruling party) and that is why his latest statement about GERD is alarming Ethiopians.
Who is he convincing and who is he confusing remains to be seen.
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