The Government of Ethiopia affirms its position to advance the trilateral technical dialogue concerning the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
The Water Affairs Ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan met in Khartoum on 04 and 05 October 2019. Prior to the Ministers’ meeting, the National Independent Scientific Research Group of the three countries met in Khartoum on 30 September – 03 October 2019.
The Government of Ethiopia is of the conviction that the technical consultation must continue, as it presents the only option for resolution of differences among the three countries with respect to filling and operation of the GERD. Although the unilateral proposal on technical aspects of filling and operation of the GERD by the Government of Egypt side-steps the working procedure of the NISRG and disrupted the ongoing process, the Water Affairs Ministers in their meeting in Cairo on 15 and 16 September 2019 instructed the NISRG to discuss and analyze the filling and operation plan of Ethiopia and the submissions of Egypt and Sudan on technical aspects of filling and operation.
Based on the direction given by the Water Affairs Ministers meeting in Cairo, the NISRG considered Ethiopia’s filling and operation plan of the GERD, and the proposals of Egypt and the Sudan. The deliberation of the Scientific Research Group was based on an outline adopted by consensus between the three country teams. The Group reached an agreement on some points while some other issues remain outstanding. These points of divergence could be resolved through further deliberation by the NISRG.
The filling plan of Ethiopia that is set to be completed in stages that will take four to seven years based on the hydrology is considerate of the interests of the downstream countries of the Nile. Furthermore, Ethiopia and Sudan followed a constructive and inclusive approach for the discussion of the NISRG. Whereas, the Egyptian Side persisted on its position of having all its proposals accepted without which it was not willing to have the NISRG conduct its analysis.
This approach by the Government of Egypt is not new. Rather, it is yet another instance of a disruptive tactic it applied to halt the hydrology, environmental and social impact assessment on the GERD. Ethiopia maintains its stand on the possibility of resolving the issues based on trilateral technical consultation and the invocation of principle X of the DOP is premature.
Despite the tireless efforts of the Ministers of Water Affairs, during their two days meeting to consider the progress of the work of the NISRG, they did not manage to put a direction on the way forward due to the predetermined plan of the delegation of Egypt to make the process fail.
The proposal by the Government of Egypt to invite third party in the discussions is an unwarranted denial of the progress in the trilateral technical dialogue and violates the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries on 23 March 2015. It also goes against the consent and wishes of Ethiopia and the Sudan; it negatively affects the sustainable cooperation between the Parties; undermines the ample opportunity for technical dialogue between the three countries; and disrupts the positive spirit of cooperation.
Additionally, the proposal to subject the discussion on filling and operation of the GERD to a political forum is unjustified by the nature of the outstanding technical issues. It also contravenes the direction given by the leaders of the three countries given to the Water Affairs Ministers to resolve the technical issues related to filling and operation of the Dam, it will also not allow attainment of a successful resolution of the technical issues.
The Government of Ethiopia believes the existing mechanisms of cooperation will allow resolution of differences and reminds the need to refrain from negative media and other campaigns that will have no other effect than eroding the confidence among the three countries.
The Government of Ethiopia will reinforce its efforts to realize development of its water resource to meet the present and future needs of its people that deserve development and adequate standard of living.
Ethiopia upholds the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and the causing of no significant harm on any other riparian country in the use of the waters of the Nile. Furthermore, the Government of Ethiopia will continue to follow an approach that will not result in direct or indirect recognition of any preexisting water allocation treaty, which has no applicability whatsoever on Ethiopia.