Egypt objects Ethiopia's 'unilateral act' of filling Renaissance Dam reservoir

BY

Mon, 03 Aug 2020 - 03:39 GMT

FILE - The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

FILE - The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

CAIRO – 3 August 2020: The Ministry of Irrigation and Land Reclamation released a statement Monday to object the unilateral act done by Ethiopia, which is filling the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) without reaching an agreement with the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

 

The statement – issued the same day a new negotiations round is starting - pointed out that such act reflects negative indicators showing that Ethiopia has no desire to achieve a fair agreement that aligns with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.

 

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.

 

In July, Ethiopia held around 4 billion cubic meters in the reservoir, whose capacity is 75 cubic meters. Ethiopia wants to fill the reservoir in 3 years while Egypt targets 7-10 years.

 

Based upon the outcomes of the African Union (AU) mini-summit held on July 21, the second meeting of the second round of negotiations took place Monday, Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty stated.

 

The minister underlined the necessity of achieving as soon as possible an agreement on the dam's operation and the reservoir's filling so as consensus is reached on all points of disagreement. He added that Egypt proposed a mechanism to manage the meetings over the coming two weeks.

 

As agreed upon in the mini-summit, the meetings will focus on the dam's operation and the reservoir's filling solely so that any future projects will be discussed later when an agreement is first concluded.

 

In Monday's meeting, the ministers of the three states agreed that each of the technical and legal committees convene simultaneously to discuss the points of disagreement on August 4-5. The outcomes of such discussions will be presented in the ministerial meeting taking place on August 6.  

 

The new negotiations round on GERD encompasses the representatives of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia as well as the observers of the United States and the European Union, and the experts of the African Union Commission (AUC).

 

The negotiations are a bid to reach a binding agreement on the operation of the dam and filling the reservoir, including in times of drought and severe drought.

 

Egypt has been underlining the negative impact of Ethiopia's desire to make decisions unilaterally on the dam's operation and filling.

 

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohammed Sebaei said on July 25 that the first filling of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) does not harm Egypt’s share of the Nile Waters.

 

Sebaei added in press statements that the water reserve of the High Dam’s lake covers the Egyptian needs of water, however, he warned against a possible drought that could be caused if GERD was not filled according to a binding agreement.

 

Sebaie added that the Egyptian distinguished diplomacy will not respond to the provocations of the Ethiopian propaganda on GERD.

 

In a phone call with the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, President Abdel Fatah al Sisi reiterated the Egyptian stance on GERD that calls for a legally comprehensive agreement between the involved parts on the operating and filling of the dam and rejects any unilateral action that would harm Egyptian water rights.

 

The South African President said he hopes that the coordination continues between his country and Egypt on GERD until a fair and balanced agreement is reached.

 

On July 24, the African Union (AU) called on Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to urgently finalize a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam, with the support of African Union experts and observers.

 

In its statement, the AU said that the latest negotiations meeting – which took place on July 21 - reflected noticeable progress in the negotiations.

 

This statement; however, came in conjunction with Ethiopian statements rejecting any binding agreement according to Al Arabiya. Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry explained that it only seeks to reach a ‘guiding agreement’, not binding regarding the GERD legal and technical aspects. 

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