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TRTWorld.com: Egypt announces dead end in Renaissance Dam talks with Ethiopia

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Wednesday, 20 December 2023

Egypt accuses Ethiopia of exploiting negotiation process as cover to solidify fait accompli on the ground, while Addis Ababa accuses Cairo of maintaining "colonial era mentality" during failed talks.

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, has been a source of tension between the three nations for years. / Photo: AFP Archive 
 
AFP

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, has been a source of tension between the three nations for years. / Photo: AFP Archive 

Egypt has said that the latest talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD] have failed, but it will closely monitor the process of filling and operating the dam and reserve the right to defend its water.

The latest meeting held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, did not yield any results due to Ethiopia's persistent refusal to accept any of the technical or legal compromise solutions that would safeguard the interests of all three countries, including Sudan, Egypt's Ministry of Irrigation said in a statement on Tuesday.

Addis Ababa hit back immediately, accusing Cairo of maintaining "colonial era mentality" during the failed talks.

"Egypt maintained colonial era mentality and erected roadblocks against efforts towards convergence," Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said.

"Ethiopia remains committed to reach an amicable and negotiated settlement that addresses the interests of the three countries and looks forward to the resumption of the negotiations."

Egypt said it has become evident that Ethiopia has elected to continue exploiting the negotiation process as a cover to solidify a fait accompli on the ground while negotiating exclusively for the purpose of obtaining an instrument of approval from downstream countries of unregulated and absolute Ethiopian control of the Blue Nile, in isolation from Ethiopia's obligations under international law.

Given these Ethiopian positions, negotiations have come to an end, it said, adding Egypt affirms that it will closely monitor the filling and operation of the dam and reserves the right, in accordance with international charters and accords, to defend its water and national security "in case of any harm."

Ethiopia said Egypt's statement "violates" UN Charter.

"After the conclusion of the fourth round of negotiation, Egypt has issued a statement that violates the UN Charter and Constitutive Act of the African Union. Ethiopia rejects the misrepresentation of its position by Egypt," Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said.

The last four rounds of negotiations took place following a hiatus that lasted for more than two years after talks between the three countries broke down in April 2021. This followed the failure of an African Union initiative to reconcile the viewp

 

Trouble at Nile basin

Egypt and Sudan insist on first reaching a binding agreement with Ethiopia regarding the filling and operation of the dam to ensure the continued flow of their shares of Nile River water.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on September 10 the success of the fourth stage of filling the dam, a move that Cairo considered a "new violation" by Addis Ababa.

The GERD, situated on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, has been a source of tension between the three nations for years.

Its potential impact on downstream water flow into Egypt and Sudan has raised significant concerns.

The dam has been under construction since 2011, just when relations between Egypt and Ethiopia started to drastically change when Cairo slowly lost its dominance over the Nile basin during the Arab Spring.

Egypt continues to reel under the water problems. In 2007, the water scarcity in the country resulted in the "Revolution of the Thirsty" protests. By 2025, Egypt is projected to become completely water-scarce.

 


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