Egypt calls Ethiopian response to AL, inappropriate, undiplomatic

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Sat, 07 Mar 2020 - 07:45 GMT

Arab League foreign ministers hold an emergency meeting on Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt December 9

Arab League foreign ministers hold an emergency meeting on Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Cairo, Egypt December 9

CAIRO – 7 March 2020: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Friday in which it rejected the Ethiopian foreign ministry’s statement on the Arab League stance on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) altogether.

The Egyptian statement said that the Ethiopian response was inappropriate, lacked diplomacy, and made an unacceptable insult to the Arab League and its members. The statement said that the Arab League’s call for Ethiopia to adhere to the principals of the International Law and not to take unilateral measures that would harm Egypt’s water interests is a clear demonstration of how Ethiopia became convinced that its interests prevail over the collective interests of the sovereign states at the Arab League.

This resolution adopted by the Arab League reflects dismay and discontent at Ethiopia’s track record throughout the endless rounds of negotiations on the GERD, particularly since the conclusion of the 2015 Agreement on Declaration of Principles (DoP).

Ethiopia’s posture and position during these negotiations, which has been criticized by the Arab League, evinces its intent to exercise hydro-hegemony and to anoint itself as the unchallenged and sole beneficiary over the Nile. This is especially apparent in its insistence on filling the GERD unilaterally in July 2020 without reaching an agreement with downstream states, and while holding negotiations on the GERD hostage to domestic political considerations. This constitutes a material breach of the DoP and demonstrates, beyond any doubt, Ethiopia’s bad faith and its lack of political will to reach a fair and balanced agreement on the GERD.

Nowhere is this true nature of Ethiopia’s position more apparent than in the fact that it failed to accept an agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD that was prepared by neutral and impartial mediators, namely the United States in coordination with the World Bank. In a show of political support, the Arab League welcomed and endorsed this agreement and invited Ethiopia to revisit its position and reconsider signing this agreement.

Given its policies during the GERD negotiations, Ethiopia is in no position to lecture the Arab League or its member states on the common values, cultural ties, and bonds of kinship between the Arab and African peoples, which are not the purview of Ethiopia to define. Ethiopia’s policy on the GERD is a further assertion of the unilateral nature of its regional conduct that has resulted in continuing harm and suffering for multitudes of our African brethren.

We, therefore, urge the international community to join the Arab League in taking cognizance of the Ethiopia’s continuing defiance and unilateralism, which threatens to undermine regional stability and security. We also call on Ethiopia to affirm its commitment not to commence the filling of the GERD without an agreement, and to accept the agreement prepared by the neutral mediators.

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 and should be seized for the benefit of over 240 million Egyptians, Ethiopians and Sudanese.

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