CAIRO - 5 August 2020: The Ethiopian Ministry of Irrigation has confirmed its commitment to the success of the Renaissance Dam negotiations for the benefit of all parties, Al Arabiya TV reported on Tuesday.
Egypt's Ambassador to Russia, Ihab Nasr, said Tuesday that the Egyptian government is keen on developments in Ethiopia, explaining that the negotiations taking place on the Renaissance Dam are essentialto find a full and comprehensive agreement that takes into consideration the interests of the three parties.
In an interview with the Russian agency Sputnik, Nasr said, "We are keen to support development in Ethiopia. We have made many proposals to help in this development, and Egypt is an important investor in Ethiopia in all sectors."
Nasr explained that the negotiations taking place around the Renaissance Dam are essential tofind a full, comprehensive agreement before starting to fill the dam, and this agreement should take into consideration not to harm the interests of any of the three parties.
The ambassador pointed out that the Security Council playsan essential role, under the charter establishing the United Nations, in ensuring that issues dealing with international peace and security are dealt with.
"Negotiations are currently taking place under the auspices of the African Union, and Egypt has responded to this mediation and hasexertedcontinuous efforts for 10 years to reach an agreement that takes into account the interests of the three countries," he said.
The Ministry of Irrigation and Land Reclamation released a statement earlier to object Ethiopia's unilateral act of 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 started - 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.
In July, Ethiopia held around 4 billion cubic meters in the reservoir, thecapacity of which 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," Egyptian Ministerof Irrigation and Water Resourced Mohamed Abdel Aty stated.
The minister underlined the necessity of achieving an agreement on the dam's operation and the reservoir's filling as soon as possible so as consensus is reached on all points. 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 and 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 round of negotiations on GERD encompasses the representatives of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia as well as observers fromthe United States and the European Union, and the experts of the African Union Commission.
The negotiations come in 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.
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 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.