Foreign ministry announces official stance on GERD

AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah
4 Min Read
A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile River in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony (AFP/File, William Lloyd-George)
A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony.  (AFP Photo)
A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony.
(AFP Photo)

Egypt is seeking to negotiate a “win-win” scenario with Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that would protect the Ethiopia’s developmental needs, Sudan’s interests, and Egypt’s water security, according to a Foreign Ministry document released Tuesday.

The document, outlining the foreign ministry’s official stance towards the dam, detailed the Egyptian narrative of the GERD negotiations and listed the arguments of the Egyptian side.

The Egyptian side said Ethiopia continuing the construction process at the dam site “violates all the well-known international legal principles regarding projects and/or constructions on international rivers”, adding that it has broken a number of international agreements.

Among the agreements mentioned in the document was the 1902 agreement between Ethiopia and the British Government, where the Ethiopian side vowed not to construct or allow the construction of any work across the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, or the Sobat, which would arrest the flow of their waters except in agreement with “His Britannic Majesty’s Government and the Government of Sudan”.

According to the foreign ministry, the Ethiopian side also violated another agreement on the framework for cooperation with Egypt signed in 1993 where each party committed to “refrain from engaging in any activity related to the Nile waters that may cause appreciable harm to the interests of the other party.”

The document added that the Ethiopian side continues to build the dam disregarding the recommendations of the International Panel of Experts (IPOE) final report, which called for further studies in water resource systems, hydropower models, and a trans-boundary environmental and socioeconomic impact assessment.

The IPOE was composed of two experts each from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, along with four international experts. In the panel’s report the Ethiopian side did not share a number of documents, including the dam break analysis, cost benefit analysis, and others.

The report also mentioned that the present hydrological and reservoir simulation study shows detrimental impacts on Egypt’s water demand and the Aswan High Dam’s hydropower generation.

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry had released a statement last Monday stressing that the Ethiopian side finds mediation between Egypt and Ethiopia “unnecessary”, adding that the Nile is a source of cooperation between Nile Basin countries, not a source of conflict.

Ethiopia said the talks in February “made no progress” because of a difference in opinion regarding the involvement of international experts. It said that while Egypt is pushing for the involvement of foreign experts, Sudan and Ethiopia do not see the need.

Tripartite talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been held in November, December and January, but no agreement has been reached so far.

The construction plan of the 145 metre dam is set to be complete in 2017. The dam will have a storage capacity of 74 BCM, installing capacity of 6000 MW, and a total cost of $4.78bn.

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