FILE – An Arab Parliament session
CAIRO - 6 March 2020: In a press release, Speaker of the Arab Parliament Adel al-Asoumi asserted on Friday the AP total support to the efforts exerted by Egypt and Sudan to protect their water and legal rights.
Asoumi added that the water security of Egypt and Sudan is an integral part of Arab national security.
He added that Egypt and Sudan had proven to the whole world in the past few years their keenness on the negotiations, adding that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi had reiterated during his meeting with Guinea-Bissau’s president his keenness on reaching just deal for all sides of the negotiations.
Asoumi also urged Ethiopia not to implement the second phase of filling the Renaissance Dam before reaching a legal and just agreement with Egypt and Sudan.
In mid-July 2020, Ethiopian authorities unilaterally carried out the first phase of the filling process with 4.9 billion cubic meters; and it is expected that the second phase of the filling would reach 13 billion cubic meters in July.
The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].
As Democratic Congo is chairing the AU for the year 2021, it is attempting to revive stalling negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
In October 2019, Egypt blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these disputes, they have to ask for mediation.
Washington had brokered tripartite negotiations among the three countries, in the presence of the President of the World Bank (WB) starting from November 6, 2019 until February 27 and 28, 2020.
During these rounds of talks, tangible outcomes were agreed on among the three parties concerning the rules and mechanism of operating the dam and the filling process of the reservoir during drought and prolonged drought; however, an agreement was not sealed.
Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. 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.