Ethiopia: Ministry Says GERD Talks Shouldn't Compromise Next Generation's Interest

ADDIS ABABA - The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy said that the tripartite negotiation on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should not compromise the development interest of the next generation.

A press release on the tripartite meeting of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan published on the ministry's official Facebook page yesterday stated that Ethiopia will not negotiate on the right of the next generation in using Abay (Nile) river for development.

"Ethiopia won't agree to a GERD deal that in any way restricts its right to use the Nile waters," the statement stated.

The release indicated that the nation is committed to continuing the negotiation but not in a way that binds its right to use the river anymore.

"The GERD is a non-consumptive hydroelectric generating dam. Any agreement over the dam, which is being negotiated in the absence of a comprehensive water treaty and the prevalence of an unjust status-quo, shall be considerate of these fundamental factors."

Accordingly, Ethiopia forwarded alternative approaches to Egypt and Sudan, which is hoped to garner their affirmative response, the release said.

On this basis, Ethiopia is committed to conclude the negotiation in good faith to reach an agreement, it added.

On the other hand, Egypt has affirmed the need for reaching an agreement on GERD before the second filling of the massive dam's reservoir, Ahramonline reported.

The virtual meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Water Affairs of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan was held on 3 January 2021 convened by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the AU Executive Council.

The Ministers exchanged views on draft document presented by the experts assigned by the Chairperson of the African Union, it was learnt.

Ethiopia and Sudan conveyed the importance of the document for the progress of the negotiation and its willingness to proceed with the negotiation with a defined role of the AU experts. Egypt categorically rejected the document, according to the statement.

The statement noted that most of the issues on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD are agreed on. The main difference lies on the co-relations between the GERD Guidelines and Rules and the future water development projects on the Abay Basin.

In the coming week, the trilateral meetings will continue at expert's level with oversight of ministers of water affairs, to take stock of agreed and outstanding issues to be presented to the six ministers meeting that is expected to be held on Sunday the 10th of January 2021.

The Ethiopian herald January 5/2021

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