Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Aty, has said that Egypt has shown flexibility during the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), due to its desire to reach a fair and legally binding agreement regarding the filling and operation of the dam.
He met with Matthew Parks, a US government water expert, and Nicole Champagne, the US deputy ambassador in Cairo, on Saturday.
Abdel Aty added that Egypt made several attempts to build confidence during the negotiation, but this was not met with good faith from the Ethiopian side, as Egypt had previously proposed to establish an infrastructure fund in the three countries (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia) to open up an area for cooperation, but it has not been activated yet.
Moreover, Egypt proposed the idea of connecting the electricity networks to the three countries, but Ethiopia also rejected the proposal, stressing that any water shortage would affect workers in the agricultural sector, which would cause social problems and security instability in the region and increase illegal immigration.
The minister pointed out that the Ethiopian side is claiming that it is obliged to fill as a construction necessity and for the purpose of generating electricity, which is contrary to the truth, as Addis Ababa started filling the dam’s lake in the past year despite the fact that the dam’s turbines were not ready to generate electricity, and it also repeated the same scenario this year without generating electricity.
“Ethiopia is deliberately issuing false statements and managing the dam unilaterally, which has caused great damage to the two downstream countries, which cost huge sums estimated at billions of dollars to try to mitigate the negative effects resulting from these unilateral measures that have caused confusion in the river system,” Abdel Aty said.
He also referred to the damage that Sudan was subjected to as a result of the unilateral filling last year, which caused Sudan to suffer from a severe drought, followed by a massive flood.