Ethiopia said a politicisation of its disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis would not lead to a win-win outcome, signalling further tensions in already deadlocked talks over the dam.
Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen said that neither politicisation nor sabotage should rule policies over the Nile, stressing that encouraging cooperation should be the “guiding spirit”.
His statements came during a virtual conference hosted by the Ethiopian Embassy in London and attended by over 200 participants, including Ethiopian ambassadors to Europe, negotiators in the tripartite talks over the dam and others.
“The negotiations over the GERD provide opportunity, if Egypt and Sudan follow a constructive approach to achieving a win-win outcome within the framework of the ongoing African Union (AU)-led process,” he said.
He added that “exerting unnecessary pressure on Ethiopia by intentionally politicising and internationalising the matter will not make Ethiopia accept the colonial-era treaty over the River Nile”.
“Ethiopia would never agree with such unfair terms that seek to maintain the hydro-hegemony of Egypt and Sudan,” said Mekonnen.
His statements come a few days after Sudan invited Egypt and Ethiopia to tripartite talks to discuss possible options over reviving negotiations on the dam after a collapse of AU-led talks earlier this month.
The invitation comes as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan continue to push forward efforts to brief regional and international counterparts on stances and developments on the latest deadlock in negotiations.
Earlier this week, Egypt said that it had sent letters to the UN Secretary general, UN security council chief and the president of the UN general assembly explaining all the latest developments and stages of negotiations.
The latest tug of war in diplomacy comes days after Egypt and Sudan rejected a proposal by Ethiopia for data exchange on its disputed dam, ahead of its planned second filling in July.
Cairo and Khartoum’s rejection of Addis Ababa's offer comes as tensions continue to linger after the latest round of Kinshasa talks, which was held between the three countries in an attempt to re-launch deadlocked negotiations over the dam and had failed to reach an agreement.
Ethiopia’s rejection of several proposals by Egypt and Sudan on the negotiations' mechanism, which includes an international quartet mediation, has led to a collapse of meetings and a failure to reach an agreement over relaunching the talks.
It plans to move forward with the second filling of the dam — set to take place in July — despite the objections of Egypt and Sudan over the execution of such a move in the absence of a legally binding deal.
The second filling aims at collecting around 18.4 bcm of Blue Nile water, up from the 4.9 bcm secured during the first filling last year.
On Thursday, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the country’s High Dam and its water reservoir will allow the country to withstand the negative impact of the GERD's second filling.
He told MPs that the high Nile flood scenario this summer will help contain the damage caused by Ethiopia's dam.