Africa: Expert Urges Egypt, Sudan to Acknowledge AU's Role, Comply With Dop

ADDIS ABABA - An expert stated that downstream countries calling for international mediation has portrayed their stance to disregard the African Union (AU) role, and is against the agenda of African solutions to African problems.

Ethiopia achieved the first phase of GERD's reservoir last year and reaffirmed that it will launch second dam filling in July to come. The two downstream countries--Egypt and Sudan, with talks deadlocked, called for international mediation to get involved in a foiled attempt to internationalize the matter. Sudan formally requested the African Union, the EU, the UN and the US to mediate the stalled process over the filling and operation of the GERD.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Ambassador Dina Mufti said that the government accepts the African Union mediation without explicitly rejecting the EU, US and the UN.

Ambassador Ibrahim Idris Trans-Boundary Rivers Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member of GERD negotiating team told The Ethiopian Herald that Ethiopia is working for, committed to, using the resource in an equitable and reasonable manner abiding by international rule of trans-boundary natural resources.

"The call for international mediation indicates the countries' AU role disregard and they want to levy an unnecessary pressure on Ethiopia so as to delay the filling of the dam. There is no legal ground that prohibits Ethiopia from achieving the second round filling, however."

Ethiopia has agreed to the mediation, whereas the two countries requested Ethiopia to halt the project and negotiate on the issue. The three countries then agreed that the construction of the dam is inseparable from the filling of the dam according to the principle 5 of the Declaration of Principles (DoP) signed in 2015.

Regarding the international mediation, he said that this approach is possible if only the three countries agree on the matter according to article 10 of the DoP. But now, only Sudan and Egypt are asking for international mediation rejecting Ethiopia's position. This runs against DoP. The mediation must be concluded among the three countries under the auspices of the AU.

Expert of Trans-Boundary Rivers and member of GERD negotiating team Dr. Wubalem Fekade on his part said that Ethiopia is showing a good will to downstream states being the highest contributor of the Nile River; this is literarily begging for a deal. On the contrary, Egypt is negatively portraying the dam using different words like unilaterally, risky, controversial, and others mainly to mislead and internationalize the issue, he added.

The repeated narratives of Egypt and Sudan claiming that Ethiopia unilaterally filled the dam in the rainy season of 2020 are fictitious and unfounded allegations.

The call for the involvement of quartet negotiation is merely to internationalize the issue, but they should know that diplomacy is the only way forward for all of us to create win-win situation.

late November 2020 whilst residents of the town marked the annual St. Mary of Zion fest. On the contrary, Axum residents, while taking part in the fest, confirmed Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and other television stations that they peacefully observed the celebration. If the Amnesty's allegation was true, that kind of festivity and normalcy could not have happened in a 'massacre day.'

The aforementioned sources claimed that the report aims to capitalize on the deeply religious significance of Axum Zion to instigate public's susception and hatred against federal troops and the government of Ethiopia at large.

Furthermore, Amnesty's account about the absence of TPLF forces in Axum and the end of resistance in late November 2020 was also confirmed untrue. Leader of the now defunct faction Debretsion Gebremichael said "TPLF forces retook the town of Axum from federal forces after a fight" and the news was also transmitted by some international news media companies.

AI's use of various fake reports and the deceptive tactic it has used to come up with big accusation on the Ethiopian government will put the impartiality and objectivity of the organization in a serious doubt, the sources remarked.

The Ethiopian Herald 21 March 2021

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