Sat, 11 Jul 2020 - 09:47 GMT
FILE – GERD
CAIRO – 11 July 2020: The negotiations round on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that started on July 3 will conclude on July 12 so that the final report will be submitted to the African Union (AU) on July 13 by observers.
Spokesperson of the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed al-Sebai stated in a phone-in that the U.S. and EU observers will confer with the delegations of each of the three states – Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia – independently as well as technical committees. Later on, they will draft the report that will be submitted to South Africa, the current AU chair.
Egypt has firmly rejected Ethiopia’s suggestion on postponing reaching a settlement on the points of contention in the GERD negotiations, Sebaei said. He added that the negotiations continued on its eighth day without reaching an agreement, explaining that Ethiopia’s obstinacy is still hindering the talks. "After seven days of negotiations, everything still the same," Sebai highlighted.
It is noted that Egypt and Sudan still didn’t review any of the dam’s safety studies, while Ethiopia announced in June it would begin filling the reservoir in July.
Over the past week, technical and legal committees from the three countries held two separate meetings, in an attempt to reconcile viewpoints over the dam's points of disagreement on both tracks.
The African Union-sponsored negotiations are attended by observers from the U.S. and the EU. During the technical committee's meeting, Egypt tabled some alternative formulations concerning dealing with periods of prolonged drought, as well as the rules for the annual operation and refilling of the giant hydroelectric dam.
On its part, the Ethiopian side proposed that points of contention to be considered later by the technical committee that will be forged after reaching an agreement. The proposal is rejected by Egypt. Meanwhile, the legal committee's meeting ended up without reaching consensus on the points of contention. Those consist of the conflict resolution mechanism, which Ethiopia refused to include in the agreement so it can change operating rules in a unilateral manner.
"Ethiopia conceives it's free to control the Blue Nile and doesn't concur the rights of any other states in that regard. They talk about this point directly and indirectly," Sebai underlined pointing out that the Ethiopian side exercises procrastination in the negotiations.
Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The Italian company is headquartered in Milan. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.
Since May 2011, Cairo has voiced its concern over how the dam can reduce the country’s annual shares of 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water. Egypt’s average water per-capita is expected to drop from 663 cubic meters per year to 582 cubic meters by 2025, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2014.
Declaration of Principles on Renaissance Dam is 'exclusive agreement' binding Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan together: intl. law expert
CAIRO - 23 June 2020: In an interview with AP earlier this week, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shokry said that if Ethiopia fills the Renaissance Dam reservoir in July - as it had announced before - without reaching an accord with Egypt and Sudan, it will be breaching the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three states, and that the resumption of negotiations will be ruled out.