Another meeting on GERD in two days, Egypt’s Irrigation

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Sat, 13 Jun 2020 - 09:25 GMT

The first round of the second meeting of the water and irrigation ministries of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the mechanism of operation and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) held on Dec. 2 - Press Photo

The first round of the second meeting of the water and irrigation ministries of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the mechanism of operation and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) held on Dec. 2 - Press Photo

CAIRO - 13 June 2020: The Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation said in a statement Saturday that the fourth meeting between Ministers of Water Affairs of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been concluded.

The Ministry’s statement read as the following:

“The fourth meeting of the Ministers of Water Affairs of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was held on 13 June 2020.These deliberations demonstrated that there are many fundamental issues that Ethiopia continues to reject. Mainly, these issues include the provisions that reflect the legally binding nature of the agreement, the inclusion of a legally binding dispute resolution mechanism, in addition to its total rejection of addressing technical issues relating to the mitigation measures for droughts and prolonged droughts and measures to address prolonged dry years, which were raised by Egypt. On its part, Egypt reaffirmed that these are essential components in any agreement that relates to an existential matter that affects the lives of over 150 million citizens of Egypt and Sudan. It was agreed that during the upcoming meeting on Monday, 15 June 2020, the three countries will take stock of these negotiations.”

In earlier comments to reporters, the Official Spokesperson of the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said that he is not optimistic about the prospects of achieving a breakthrough during the ongoing negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. This, he noted, was due to Ethiopia’s intransigence which, once again, became abundantly clear during the ongoing meetings of the ministers of water resources of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

While Egypt exercised considerable flexibility and welcomed a compromise text prepared by Sudan as a possible basis for negotiations, Ethiopia presented, during the ministerial meeting that was held on June 11, 2020, a deeply troubling document that is both technically unsound and legally inadequate. This document, which both Egypt and Sudan rejected, confirms that Ethiopia lacks the requisite political will to conclude a fair agreement on the GERD and reveals its intention to exploit transboundary water resources in an unrestrained and unregulated manner and without taking into consideration the rights and interests of downstream communities and states.

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