15 December 2017

Ethiopia: Egyptian Media Should Swallow the Bitter Pill!

The distorted information which few Egyptian media outlets have disseminated as the trio discussion on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project reached a stalemate is unfounded and an ethical--if not a disgrace to the entire basin countries. Worse even, such emotively charged media that lose sight of the aspiration of the people of the basin, and Africans in general are reflecting views echoing to resuscitate "Egypt's water share" narrative, which is actually an outmoded one that should be kept in the dust bin of history.

As it has always been, Ethiopia values basin-grown solution--a solution to perceived problem, in the Nile Basin, coming out from the basin countries themselves.

A living showcase to this assertion is its initiative in allowing Nile downstream countries (Sudan and Egypt in particular) to study whether or not GERD can have significant harm on downstream countries-- despite its unilateral empirical studies which have proven as the Dam cannot cause any significant harm to them. In addition to opening its door wide to the study team, to witness the Dam's building at the northwestern part of Ethiopia, Benishangul Gumuz State, the country have provided around 150 relevant documents to the international consultant.

Ethiopia is still underlining the importance of scientific discussion among the three countries. It is clear that the Dam's building is also going scientifically, with the latest technology use. Ethiopia has also transparently indicated as the Dam filling stage will be carried out scientifically. For instance, there will not be water retention activities in possible drought seasons, and its water retention works will be carried out during peak seasons... .

Besides, the artificial lake which would lie behind the Dam increases water security for the water is safe from wastage as the Dam site is at the highlands of Ethiopia. Plus, the project is non-water consuming--hydropower. Put another way, the water will flow in a regulated volume after hitting turbines to produce electric power. Or as the Dam's site is in the Nile gorges, it cannot be used for other purposes say irrigation. This is the fact, but the editorial slant of few Egyptian media that portray as if the Dam will harm Egypt's use of the waters of the Nile is much unfounded, on one hand.

On the other, the so called water share rhetoric that the few Egyptian media are fanning serves no purpose other than confusing the sisterly people of Egypt. It as well clearly shows the reduced degree of respect the Egyptian media have given to sons and daughters of Africa who befallen for our dignity. The people of Africa suffered human losses to get their independence from the heavy shackles of colonialism. Through their continental institution OAU/AU, the people dismantled colonialism with all of its forms, and its legacies. To mention but a few, immediately after independence on December 9, 1961 Tanganyika (Present day Tanzania), annulled the so called colonial agreement in which Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda followed suit after their independence in subsequent years.

Thus anyone's claim to revive such ill-famed colonial agreements, and the bilateral agreements which gave the lion's share of water to Egypt-- less than double of the evaporation at Aswan High Dam to Sudan and none to the rest basin countries-- is unacceptable by anyone's standards.

Like any country in the Basin, Ethiopia did not and will not give recognition to this ill-famed agreement.

More importantly, the trio discussion has no any mandate in making decision on the "water share". Such mandate is executed at basin-wide level, and if need arises, it is all the basin states that should negotiate on the issue. In this regard, the Cooperative Framework of Agreement (CFA) will help to settle any dispute, following the establishment of Nile River Basin Commission. The CFA has been sighed by most basin countries, and Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania ratified, while South Sudan and Kenya, Burundi and Uganda are working hard to ratify the document.

These are, of course, a few of the issues that the Egyptian media have overlooked whether or not it is intentional or unintentional.

And the bottom-line is: the trio discussion will continue. Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister Dr. Eng. Sileshi Bekele rightly said it, the water ministers of the three countries are scheduled to be on Khartoum for their next meeting as Sudan expressed interest to hold the next conference.

Ethiopia

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