Ethiopia suggests AU Bureau of Assembly meeting

Ethiopia says the way forward on the Great Ethiopian Rain naissance Dam (GERD) negotiations is to request the Chairperson of the African Union, President Felix Tshisekedi to call the meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the AU in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of the Sudan Mr. Abdalla Hamdok.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in response to the letter of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok dated 13, April 2021, stated that assuming the negotiation process as a failure is not right because we have seen some tangible results including the signing of the Declaration of Principles (DoP) and the establishment of the National Independent Scientific Research Group (NISRG) and its work in relation to stage based filling schedule, according to the statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Ethiopia.

The letter also cites the Kinshasa meeting, the understanding reached on the resumption of the stalled AU led trilateral negotiation, the agreement reached on the continued and enhanced role of the observers, namely EU, South Africa, and United States, and the need for the current AU Chairperson to use resources at his disposal for the effective discharge of his facilitation role.

Acknowledging the legal and technical issues that need to be tackled for a win-win outcome, the letter also appreciates the AU-led process for providing the opportunity to the tripartite to deal with the most pressing issues in spite of the interruption nine times.

“If parties negotiate in good faith results are within our reach,” says the letter, and “Ethiopia still believes that the best way forward is to continue the trilateral negotiation under the AU-led process to reach a win-win outcome.”

On April 16, 2021 Ethiopia has submitted its position to the UN Security Council on the AU-led tripartite negotiation on the GERD. The main points are:
– The letter is submitted to make Ethiopia’s position clear to members of the PSC (with details of the negotiation process and annex that clarifies major issues regarding the dam’s construction)
– Ethiopia requests the UNSC to urge Egypt and Sudan to return to the tripartite negotiations on the first filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and respect the AU-led process.
– The AU-led process has enjoyed the full support of the UN Security Council on the basis of the principles of complementarity and in the spirit of finding African solutions to African problems.
– Egypt and Sudan are not negotiating in good faith and are not ready to make the necessary concessions to reach a win-win outcome
– the two countries chose to “scuttling” the negotiation and “internationalizing” the issue to exert undue pressure on Ethiopia.
– Ethiopia has unwavering commitment and trust over the AU-led tripartite negotiation and expressed the country’s gratitude for the genuine efforts of South Africa and now the Democratic Republic Congo to address the matter in the spirit of African solutions for African problems.
– Ethiopia’s initiative on data exchange before the commencement of the second filling of the dam in the upcoming rainy season had been declined by the two downstream countries declined.
– the insistence by the two countries to maintain the unjust status quo and foreclose Ethiopia’s water use upstream of the GERD under the pretext of “concluding a binding comprehensive agreement” is unacceptable
– Ethiopia if firm and committed to the Declaration of Principle (DoP) that was signed by the leaders of the three countries and noted that Egypt and Sudan are reneging their commitment that they have entered under the DoP.
– Attempts to pressure Ethiopia and sideline the AU-led process will “further undermine trust and confidence among the three countries