The current chairman of the African Union (AU), President Felix Tshisekedi, submitted a new proposal to the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan inviting them to primarily agree on the first filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), The Reporter has learnt.
President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi, recently visited the three countries with a mission to revive the stalled negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
During his visit, Tshisekedi separately met his counterparts in the three countries and discussed his initiative.
During the visits in the three countries, he proposed to the respective leaders to start fresh negotiations focusing on reaching an agreement on the first filling of the GERD, Gedion Asfaw, member of the Ethiopian negotiating team told The Reporter.
According to him, the new initiative proposed by the DRC President corresponds to Ethiopia’s position, which has been communicated repeatedly to the two downstream countries.
However, there are media reports that confuse the new proposal with the second round filling which will be held in the coming rainy season.
According to Gedion, the first filling has three stages including the 4.9 BMC retained last year.
The second round of the first filling will be conducted in the coming July or August and when completed, the GERD will retain additional 13.4BMC of water this year. And the third stage of the first filling process will continue in the coming years and will allow the dam to be filled up to 625 meters above sea level.
“We have not heard official responses from Egypt and Sudan yet, but there are positive signs from the Egyptian side,” Gedion said referring to the recent statement made by the Egyptian Foreign Minister.
In an interview with an Egyptian talk show host, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the second round filling of the GERD which will be conducted in the coming few months would not adversely affect water supplies to Egypt.
The Foreign Minister assured the Egyptian public that the government has carefully prepared for this and stocked enough water at the Aswan High Dam.
“We are confident the second round filling of the dam by Ethiopia won’t affect Egyptian water interests adversely. We can deal with it through strict management of our water resources,” Shoukry said.