Ethiopia says negotiations on Nile dam continue

Describing Egypt’s Saturday statement as ‘regrettable’, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia said the tripartite negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the Guidelines and Rules for the first filling and annual operation for the Great Ethiopian Reconnaissance Dam (GERD) continued for the fourth day on Saturday, 13 June 2020.

Earlier on Saturday the spokesperson of Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt indicated that, “negotiations are faltering because of Ethiopia”. Responding to the statement of the spokesperson, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia on Sunday said, Ethiopia “has found the Press Release of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt of 13 June 2020 regrettable.”

“Despite the accusation of the Spokesperson that the “negotiations are faltering because of Ethiopia”, the truth is we have made progress and if the ongoing negotiation is to falter it is only because of Egypt’s obstinacy to maintain a colonial based water allocation agreement that denies Ethiopia and all the upstream countries their natural and legitimate rights,” the Ministry said.

The negotiations of the three country’s water Ministers has been going on via video-conference in the presence of the observers and under the Chairmanship of the Sudan.

No talk on water sharing
“The three countries negotiated on technical issues on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD. Based on the filling schedule of the GERD, the countries reached understanding on the first stage filling, volume of environmental flow, guidelines for first stage filling and the approach to drought management rules,” said the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia.

“The Countries also reached an understanding on dam safety rules, environmental and social impact assessment studies, and entry into force of the Guidelines and Rules. On Sunday the three countries will exchange the Guidelines and rules incorporating the outcomes of the negotiation,” it said.

“While recognizing the progress made in the previous days of the negotiations, Ethiopia would like to stress that; First, the ongoing negotiation is not on the allocation of the Blue Nile waters. Second, Ethiopia will be bound by the guidelines and rules for first filling and annual operation of the GERD that it will sign with the two downstream countries. Third, such a commitment will only be guided by the Declaration of Principles of March 2015 that stipulates relevant international principles that are adequate for a GERD project,” the Ministry said.

Stop confusing the international community
“Fourth, any attempt to confuse the international community or campaign to exert maximum pressure on Ethiopia to accept colonial based treaties that it is not a party to and foreclose its legitimate right of using Abbay/the Blue Nile camouflaged in the guidelines and rules on the first filling and annual operation is unacceptable. Fifth, Ethiopia stresses that it is a genuine negotiation based on good faith and transparency that will result in finalizing the process with a win-win outcome,” it said.

“On the way forward, the countries agreed to take stock of the outcomes of the negotiation and continue the negotiation on outstanding issues,” the ministry said indicating that the negotiations will continue today with the chairmanship of the Egypt.