Ethiopia retracts prior understandings in GERD negotiations: Egypt

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Sep 2023

Egypt's Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Irrigation issued a statement on Sunday announcing that no substantial progress was achieved during the most recent round of GERD negotiations in which Ethiopia retracted some prior understandings that had been reached between the three countries during the negotiation process.

File Photo: This general view shows the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Guba, Ethiopia, on February 19, 2022. AFP


Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan held the second leg of the recently revived trilateral negotiations over the GERD in Addis Ababa on Saturday and Sunday. 

The new round of talks came nearly two weeks after Ethiopia announced that it had completed the fourth and final unilateral filling of the GERD reservoir.

The three parties began the first leg of the negotiations in Cairo on 27-28 August to reach an agreement on the rules for filling and operating the mega-dam.

“Ethiopia displayed a tendency to renege on several agreements previously reached among the three countries within the framework of the negotiation process,” the Irrigation Ministry’s Spokesman, Mohamed Ghanim, said in the statement.

Ethiopia also rejected all the proposed compromises and the technical arrangements agreed upon internationally, which would have corresponded to Ethiopia's interests without infringing the rights and jeopardizing the interests of the downstream countries, Ghanim added. 

He stressed, however, that the Egyptian negotiating team remains committed to constructive negotiations governed by clearly defined objectives. 

According to Ghanim, the primary objective for Egypt is to reach an agreement governing the filling and operating of the GERD that safeguards Egypt's national interests and protects its water security while promoting the interests of the three countries.

He also stressed that Ethiopia should demonstrate the political will to promptly reach a legally binding agreement on filling and operating GERD within the timeframe the three countries had previously agreed on. 

The latest rounds of GERD talks were initiated following the meeting between President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in July. 

During the meeting, both leaders agreed to begin negotiations to finalize an agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on filling and operating the GERD within four months. 

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