Saturday, August 22, 2020

“Negotiating With Ethiopia Is the Only Way to Resolve Disputes” Says Sudan

Ethiopia aims to redress historical imbalance on the water allocation from the Abay river as Egypt seeks to maintain monopoly over it


August 17, 2020

Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt have resumed virtual talk over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Sunday. 

The African Union-led Ministerial level meeting is attended by the Foreign Affairs Ministers and water and irrigation affairs ministers from the three countries.

They are negotiating the filing and operation of Ethiopia’s $4 billion dams which Ethiopia says will not cause harm to the legitimate water shares of the two lower riparian counties.

The European Union and the US government have attended it as an observer.

A report published on Monday by VOA said Sudan and Egypt are optimistic about reaching an agreement with Ethiopia.  The two countries said “negotiating with Ethiopia is the only way to resolve disputes over the dam, but Sudan warned Egypt against making any “unilateral procedures.”

It was during a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries in Khartoum over the weekend that they expressed support to the African Union-led negotiation.

According to the source, Sudan asked Egypt to avoid taking unilateral actions without consulting with Sudan.

Egypt has been claiming a “historical right” over the Nile making a reference to the colonial era water arrangements which gave the lion’s share of the water from Abay River to Egypt and Ethiopia was not part of the agreement. GERD, from Ethiopian standpoint, is an opportunity to rectify historically imbalances of water use from Abay. 

Under the existing arrangement, Ethiopia has zero percent of water share while it is generating 86 percent of the water that flows to the lower courses of the river (Egypt and Sudan.)

The Sudan Tribune quoted Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Gedu Andargachew, on Sunday as saying “…since the Nile river basin holds 2/3 of Ethiopia’s water resources, utilizing it is a matter of sovereignty and an essential requirement for the development of the country.”

Ethiopia completed the first stage of the filing last month during the first two weeks when the country received heavy rainfall.

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