The Ethiopian government expressed its displeasure with the Arab League, accusing it of supporting Egypt in the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute (GERD).
For more than a decade, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt have been at odds over the operation and development of the project. Sudan had long supported Ethiopia, particularly under the leadership of its former president, Omar al-Bashir, but it changed its position when he was deposed before Sudanese generals stated their support for the dam.
In a statement made yesterday, March 10, 2023, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Spokesman Office, the government of Ethiopia expressed dismay at what was described as a “resolution” passed by the League the day before regarding the filling and operation of GERD.
Objecting to the League’s partiality towards GERD, the statement accused the Arab League as “spokesperson of one state” and disrespected international law standards.
The statement accuses the League of interfering in a matter that is solely the responsibility of African governments.
The management and utilization of Nile River, including the filling and operation of the GERD, must be left to the concerned parties in Africa, the statement reads. “We should not have to remind the League that the Nile River and all the riparian countries found in Africa.”
The statement further adds that trilateral negotiations between Ethiopia and the two downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt, are being led by the African Union and would resolve the problems under the “African Answers to African Issues” framework.
Furthermore, the Spokesperson’s Office claims that the League mischaracterized the negotiations. “”The fact is that Egypt with its obdurate stance to maintain a colonial era-based self-claimed water allocation and its unending attempts to internationalize the matter is the reasons for the delay of the negotiation,” the statement says.
Despite assuring the Ethiopian government’s commitment to the AU-led negotiations, the statement calls Egypt’s role as a good faith in the AU-led negotiations into question.
The government also stated its intention to fill the GERD reservoir and operate it in accordance with the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles, which was signed by the three countries in 2015, “with full respect to the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of transboundary water resources.”