Ahmed Abu Zeid, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has described the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry’s recent statement in response to the Arab League Summit’s decision to support the positions of Egypt and Sudan in the issue of Grand Ethiopian renaissance Dam (GERD), as misleading and full of fallacies.
He pointed out that this claim is a desperate attempt to drive a wedge between Arab and African countries by portraying Arab support for Egypt’s just and responsible position as an Arab-African conflict.
The Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson expressed regret over the statement’s untrue claims that the three countries, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, had already agreed during negotiations on the volume of water to be stored and the period of filling the dam’s reservoir.
Abu Zeid also denounced Ethiopia’s claim that the Egyptian and Sudanese resorting to the request of Arab support is a violation of the agreement of principles, and even the claim that the Arab member states of the African Union do not support the Arab resolution adopted unanimously by the last summit.
He added that Egypt’s history supporting national struggle movements and liberation from colonialism in Africa, and its efforts and resources to support economic and social development and peace-building programs in the continent, are not in line with false allegations that Egypt mobilizes Arab countries against African interests.
The fact that Ethiopia was the headquarters of the African Union did not qualify it to speak on its behalf or on its member States in that manner, in order to cover up its violations of the norms of international law and the principles of good-neighborliness.
The Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson concluded his remarks by refuting Ethiopia’s claim that it has taken into account the concerns of Egypt and the Sudan, noting that this contradicts the fact that negotiations have continued for more than ten years without any commitment or consideration for the rights of the downstream countries.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson called on the Ethiopian side to stop using what it called “colonial agreements” to derogate from its legal obligations signed by a fully sovereign state and its moral duty not to harm the downstream countries.
He also called on them to stop blaming other parties simply for demanding a commitment to the normal outcome of the negotiations, a legally binding agreement that took into account the existential concerns of the downstream States and met the development aspirations of the Ethiopian people.
Last Monday, in a statement, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said that Ethiopia is following with concern the decision taken by the recent Arab League Summit, which echoed what it called the “hostile Egyptian rhetoric” regarding the GERD.
The Ethiopian statement added that the allegation that Ethiopia has taken unilateral measures is a deliberate misstatement, stressing that “Egypt’s attempts to pressure Ethiopia using the Arab League reflect its lack of good faith and its violation of the Declaration of Principles Agreement it concluded with Ethiopia and Sudan.
The Council of the Arab League at the summit level issued a number of resolutions during its summit last Friday in the Saudi city of Jeddah, including a resolution on the GERD, in which it affirmed that the water security of both Egypt and Sudan is an integral part of the Arab water security, and rejected any action that undermines their rights to the water of the Nile.
The text of the resolution expressed grave concern over the continuation of unilateral measures to fill and operate the Ethiopian dam, stressing that these measures contravene applicable rules of international law, in particular the Declaration of Principles concluded between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Khartoum on 23 March 2015.