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Egypt Wants Ethiopia to Fill Renaissance Dam in 12 to 21 Years

Egypt asks Ethiopia to start the filling of its giant dam on Nile within the next 12-21 years, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy said. The two countries, along with Sudan, had a series of meetings in Cairo, Addis Ababa and Washington DC for the past two months, but none of them bore fruit.

Yesterday, after concluding the meeting with his Egyptian counterparts in Addis Ababa, Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, expressed his disappointment over the disagreement between the three countries on the operation and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“Egypt comes up with a new matrix that sets the time of the filling of the dam in 12 to 21 years. This is unacceptable,” Seleshi said, adding Ethiopia will begin to fill the dam as of coming July.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan remained deadlocked after two days of talks in their disputes over a giant hydropower dam on the Nile though, although Egyptian authorities hoped the issues would be resolved by Jan. 15 in line with a deadline agreed with Washington.

“We have concluded the negotiation on GERD but without cementing the deal. EGYPT refused to finalize the deal in Addis by bringing new conditions that has not much to do with GERD,” he said. “We expect they accept and conclude the long and difficult negotiation we had thus far through consulting in their capital.”

Egypt’s irrigation ministry also said on Thursday that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan could not reach an agreement despite several proposals made during the fourth round of technical talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which concluded in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

“Egypt presented suggestions and studies that would ensure the generation of electricity to Ethiopia at high efficiency during times of drought while at the same time securing Egypt’s water interests,” a statement by Egypt’s irrigation ministry read.

“Nevertheless, the three countries could not reach an agreement regarding the amount of water to be released from the dam during the various hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile,” the ministry said.

However, the three countries made clarification on all technical issues in their four rounds of meetings, which mean there is not going to be further technical discussion, according to Seleshi. We have clear terms on how to fill & manage drought during filling & operation.

It is to be recalled that Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, on November 2019, agreed to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. If they, however, failed to do so, the countries agreed to ask for mediation or refer the matter to their heads of states or prime ministers in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.

The three countries foreign ministers, who have met in Washington yesterday, also agreed to work toward completion of an agreement by January 15, 2020. If an agreement is not reached by January 15, 2020, the foreign ministers agree that Article 10 of the 2015 Declaration of Principles will be invoked.

Samson Berhane

Editor-in-Chief samson.b@ethiopianbusinessreview.net


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