FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS
A Change.org petition created by the Egyptian American Council urging Ethiopia “not to undertake unilateral measures in regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)” has so far gathered more than 112,000 signatures.
The petition titled “Egyptians' Right to Nile Water” aims to gather 150,000 signatures and calls for a “balanced win-win solution” to the GERD crisis.
“We request that you abide by the 2015 Agreement on the Declaration of Principles (DoP) and not to anoint yourself as the unchallenged and sole beneficiary of the Nile, ” the petition read.
The petition calls out Ethiopia for its decision to fill the GERD unilaterally in July 2020 despite not reaching an agreement with downstream states, and for suspending its participation in the US-mediated negotiations.
“Ethiopia has the right to grow but Egypt also has the right to live,” a video promoting the petition said. “Support life, support the Nile flowing in Egypt.”
“A balanced win-win solution is at hand and the opportunity to chart a new course and redraw the history of the Blue Nile is within our grasp,” the petition continued.
Egypt and Ethiopia have been in conflict over the technical details regarding the operation and filling of the GERD.
Ethiopia hopes that the massive $4.8 billion project on the Blue Nile will allow it to become Africa’s largest power exporter.
Egypt, which is downstream from the dam, fears that the project will diminish its share of Nile water, on which it is almost entirely reliant for its fresh water.
The US stepped in to host negotiations in November after the three countries had announced that talks had reached a dead end, and after Egypt had asked for an international mediator.
Egypt has accused Ethiopia of "deliberately" impeding the course of negotiations following skipping the February meetings and the US Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said following the Ethiopian move that “the final testing and filling should not take place without an agreement.”