Ethiopia maintains obstinate stand on GERD, rejects Arab League’s solidarity resolution with Egypt

Sarah El-Sheikh
3 Min Read

Ethiopia announced on Friday its rejection to the Arab League’s Wednesday resolution that showed solidarity with Egypt in protecting its historical rights to the Nile River water and refused any unilateral measures that might be taken by Addis Ababa regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile.

Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said, “The resolution gives blind support to a member state without taking into consideration key facts at the center of the GERD.”

The 153rd Regular Session of the Arab League at the Ministerial Level on Wednesday issued a resolution on GERD that Egypt prepared and tabled at the council.

“The water security of Egypt is an integral part of the Arab national security,” said the Arab top diplomats in Cairo.
The resolution came to underscore “Arab support for the water rights of Egypt and Sudan,” but Sudan expressed “reservations” over the resolution and asked to remove its name from it.

Sudan said the pan-Arab bloc should not be involved in the dispute, and the resolution is not serving its interests. Sudan expects future benefits from the GERD construction despite its fellow Nile Basin downstream country’s (Egypt) concerns.

Ethiopia praised the stance of Sudan for refusing to endorse the resolution of the Arab League, saying “Sudan has once again demonstrated its position of being a voice of reason and justice in the latest orchestrated so-called Arab League position on the GERD.”

Tensions between Cairo and Addis Ababa have been escalating recently after Ethiopia missed the last US-sponsored ministerial meeting with Egypt and Sudan in Washington to conclude a deal over the rules of filling and operating the GERD.

Egypt accused Ethiopia of not attending the last round of talks in Washington “to deliberately hinder negotiations.”

Ethiopia has justified its absence that it needs more time to consider the matter, and that it would commence filling the dam’s reservoir in parallel with its construction.

While Ethiopia, an upstream country, puts a huge development strategy based on GERD, Egypt is concerned it might affect its 55.5bn cubic meter annual share of Nile water, if the filling of the dam’s reservoir was executed in less than 7-year period which would cause low flooding seasons.

The US Treasury Department, which is brokering talks, said the filling of the 6,000MW dam “should not take place without an agreement.” Sudan expressed the same stance as it called for “a comprehensive agreement on the safe operation of the dam” before the start of the filling of its reservoir.

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