GERD negotiations reached a dead end, says water ministry spokesman

Ahram Online , Saturday 5 Oct 2019

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Water Recourses and Irrigation stated that negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has reached a dead end due to the “intransigency” of the Ethiopian side.

He confirmed that the Egyptian offer, rejected by Ethiopia, presented an integrated proposal for the rules of filling and operating the dam, that was fair and balanced and took into account the interests of the three countries involved.

A new round of meetings of the irrigation and water resources ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia kicked off in Khartoum on Friday. 

The ministers were due to discuss during their two-day meetings proposals on filling the GERD and the outcome of meetings of the three-way technical committee that has been reviewing the issues four days earlier.

The spokesperson pointed out that Ethiopia presented a new proposal during Khartoum's meetings which was "a setback to all the principles previously agreed upon for the filling and operation of the dam."

“The proposal didn't include the minimum annual drainage of the dam, or ways to deal with the cases of drought and prolonged drought that might occur in the future,” he said.

The ministry spokesperson added that Ethiopia refused to discuss the rules of operating the Renaissance Dam, and instead it limited the negotiations on the filling phase and the rules of operation during the same filling phase.

This, he said, violated Article V of the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed in March 2015, and was not in line with the international norms of cooperation in the construction and management of dams on shared rivers.

The spokesperson highlighted that in light of the deadlocked negotiations, Egypt called for the implementation of Article X of the Declaration of Principles Agreement to involve an international mediator in the GERD negotiations to mediate between the three countries and help reach a fair and balanced agreement without prejudice against any party .

The Ethiopian dam that has been under construction since 2011 is being built on the Blue Nile, which accounts for 85 per cent of the Nile waters that reach Egypt. 

Earlier on Thursday, the White House said that the US supports Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s ongoing negotiations to reach a “cooperative, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement” on filling and operating the GERD.

The US also called on all sides “to put forth good faith efforts to reach an agreement that preserves those rights, while simultaneously respecting each other’s Nile water equities."


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