Ethiopia continues obstinacy on Nile dam, rejects international mediation

Mohammed El-Said
3 Min Read
Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia to meet Sunday to discuss future steps in GERD talks

In a new round of obstinacy over the Nile dam dispute, Ethiopia has renewed its refusal to invite various parties as mediators to the talks on its controversial mega-dam. 

He added that he believes the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue can be resolved under the auspices of the ongoing African Union (AU)-led negotiation.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dina Mufti said that his country “strongly believes that African problems can be solved through African solutions, and the AU and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are perfectly capable of coming up with win-win solutions to all”.

Mufti’s remarks came in response to a Sudanese call for the formation of an international quartet to lead Nile dam talks, led and managed by the DRC, in its capacity as the current chair of the AU. The quartet would also include the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the United States (US), to mediate in negotiations.

He added that the Nile basin is a shared water resource, where all downstream and upstream countries will benefit from negotiations. 

Mufti also stressed that “Ethiopia has the natural and legal right to utilise its water resources fairly and equitably without causing significant harm to downstream countries”. 

However, Egypt has made note of the need to reach a legally binding agreement under international law over the filling and operation of the GERD.

The Ethiopian official, however, reiterated Addis Ababa’s refusal to stick to what he described as “the status quo of the colonial era agreements under the name of reaching binding agreements”.  

On Friday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed the organisation’s readiness to play a role in the ongoing negotiations over the controversial giant Ethiopian dam.

“The UN is available to support and participate in the African Union-led negotiation process on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” Guterres said in a telephone conversation with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry.

Guterres offered the UN’s availability to mediate in the talks at the invitation of the AU Chairperson and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi. The UN head’s offer is borne of the hope that the process will count on the full engagement of the parties in serious negotiations.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.