Prime Minister Moutafa Mabdouli - Photo by: Soliman al-Otify
CAIRO - 21 October 2019: Egypt is facing a major challenge to reach a fair agreement with Ethiopia concerning the construction of its dam on the Blue Nile, said Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli in his speech at the Cairo Water Week Forum 2019 on Sunday.
“The environmental and hydrological studies of the dam have not been carried out yet, and we hope that consultant firms finish them,” said Madbouli, adding that “the Ethiopian side rejects what has been agreed upon.”
“It was agreed to take an unofficial path with an independent scientific group, which was formed by representatives of the three countries [Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan], but we did not see any significant progress,” he continued.
Madbouli highlighted the need for coordination among the countries in case any dam would be built on the Nile River, clarifying that Egypt uses Article 10 of the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015, per which an international mediator shall intervene in the negotiations.
Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the controversial $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its share after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011.
A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan has begun in 2014. One year later, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. However, Cairo and Addis Ababa have recently blamed each other for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem.
On October 5, 2019, Cairo has asked for an international mediator in the tripartite negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD); however, Addis Ababa rejected.
The 2019 round of the CWW comes under the theme “Responding to Water Scarcity”. The Forum’s sub-sessions tackle themes of Research and Innovation in facing water scarcity; non-conventional water resource use; Cooperation in Water Sector; and Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation, and Adaptation.
The first edition of the CWW convened in October 2018 under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in a way to increase public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid a state of water shortage.