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Egypt voices concern over prolonged GERD talks

Egypt voices concern over prolonged GERD talks

Pushing towards growth and development, the Government of Ethiopia said that it will continue to maintain its position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), despite Egypt’s unwavering attempts to pressure Ethiopia particularly on the length of time allotted to fill the dam, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia (MoFA) told The Reporter.

The above statement was issued following a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of foreign Affairs, and The Reporter’s attempt to solicit a reaction from the Ethiopian side.

Deputy Minister for the African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Hamdi Louza, in a statement made on Thursday, indicated that his country has voiced its uneasiness concerning the prolonged negotiations with Addis Ababa on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Louza, holding a meeting with European ambassadors to Egypt, gave an update on the latest developments between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, over the dam. He clarified that Egypt had submitted to the two countries, “a fair proposal for the dam operation and filling of its reservoir.”

The problematic point between Egypt and Ethiopia arises on a technical level relating to the period it takes to fill the dam’s reservoir. Ethiopia has said that it will take up to 5-6 years to fill the reservoir. On the other hand, Egypt has asked Ethiopia to abide by the Nile water quantity (flow) in filling the reservoir to, “Avoid any significant damage on the downstream countries.”

Responding to Egypt’s concern, Nebiat Getachew, Spokesperson of MoFA, told The Reporter that, Ethiopia remains steadfast in its principle to develop its water resource in a manner that does not hurt anyone. He added that, the current position of Ethiopia goes on the recommendation and technical aspects of the 15 scientists who are from the three negotiating countries.

Furthermore, he said that the problem mainly exists, because Egypt continues to come up with various proposals, in order to put pressure on Ethiopian interests, which the latter cannot compromise.

Egypt’s concern over its share of the Nile water escalated after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Nile in May 2011. A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan begun in 2014, and one year later, the three countries reached an agreement, in which downstream countries should not sustain significant harm to their share of the Nile due to the construction of the dam.

Both President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed affirmed their keenness to resume the negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.