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Ethiopia’s new GERD proposal retreats on previous agreed principles, says Egypt

Ahram Online , Thursday 11 Jun 2020
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Egypt and Sudan have expressed concerns about a new Ethiopian proposal on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD) filling and operation, saying it backtracks on previous negotiations.

“The Ethiopian document completely backtracks from the principles and rules that were agreed upon between the three countries during the negotiations sponsored by the United States and the World Bank. It also brushes aside all the technical understandings reached in the previous rounds of negotiations,” read a statement from the Egyptian irrigation ministry on Thursday.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia resumed technical talks on Tuesday for the first time since February, when US- and World Bank-mediated negotiations came to a halt after Ethiopia pulled out.

The US stepped up when the three African countries had reached a previous deadlock last October.

Egypt had initialled a draft agreement from the US talks, whereas Ethiopia and Sudan have not.

“Egypt asserts its adherence to the agreement reached in the talks in Washington as a fair and balanced agreement by which Ethiopia can achieve its development goals while safekeeping the rights of the two downstream countries,” the Egyptian statement also said.

“Ethiopia should revise its position, which impedes any possibility of reaching an agreement. Egypt stresses that Ethiopia should not take any unilateral action in violation of its legal obligations, especially the Declaration of Principles in 2015.”

The statement also urged Ethiopia to negotiate in good faith, “as Egypt has done since the beginning of the negotiations,” for the sake of reaching a fair, balanced and comprehensive deal.

“This Ethiopian approach complicates the situation and may lead to a worsening of the situation in the region,” the statement concluded. 

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