Ethiopia, Egypt fail to reach agreement on the Nile

The governments of Ethiopia and Egypt have failed to reach an agreement on the use of the Nile River and the filling of Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam (GERD) under construction.

The third round of the tripartite water ministers meeting held in Addis Ababa involving Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt in concluded on Friday without agreement between Ethiopia and Egypt. Egypt demanded Ethiopia to fill GERD water between 12 to 21 years, according to Eng. Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Ethiopia Water, Irrigation and Electricity, who briefed reporters after the meeting.

He stated that the proposal of Egypt which ‘keeps changing is unacceptable’ by the government of Ethiopia. The Government of Ethiopia has already spent about $4 billion on the construction of the hydro dam and is expected to start the filling of water by July this year as stated in the common agreed proposal.

The two countries have also failed to reach agreement on the amount of water of the Nile Ethiopia uses during drought seasons, according to the Minister.

“This evening we have concluded the negotiation on GERD but without cementing the deal. We made clarification on all technical issues in the 4 rounds and we don’t expect further technical discussion. We have clear terms on how to fill and manage drought during filling and operation,” later twitted End. Seleshi.

As per the request by Egypt, representatives of the World Bank and the Government United Sates have been attending the negotiators launched a few months ago as the last one to find win-win solution among the major three Nile countries-Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

When completed and goes fully operational the GERD is expected to generate about 6,000 megawatts of electricity allowing Ethiopia to increase the amount of electricity to be sold to the neighboring countries such as Djibouti, Kenya, among others. The GERD, which has been under-construction since 20111, will be the largest hydro dam in Africa and 7th biggest in the world.

Even though Ethiopia is the source of the Blue Nile contributing over 80 percent of water to the Nile, Egypt claims that the water as its ‘only source of life and reduction in the flow of the volume put lives of millions of Egyptians at risk’.