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Egypt announces failure of talks over Ethiopian dam

Image of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia [file photo]
Image of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia [file photo]

An Egyptian government source has announced the failure of the talks about Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, Almesryoon.com reported on Sunday. The anonymous source said that Cairo is currently studying diplomatic and political moves to maintain its rights to water from the River Nile as guaranteed by international law.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi mentioned his government’s approach to this issue during his speech at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. He stressed that Egypt would commit to the principles of international law in this regard, and insisted that it will go through due process with “confidence and goodwill”.

According to the source, the talks ended because of the failure to achieve any progress on the technical side relating to the division of water and the storage capacity of the Ethiopian dam. In the meantime, construction work on the massive project continues apace.

Cairo is apparently interested in reaching a technical understanding of the storage capacities of the new dam and the other dams along the Nile, as well as the amount of water siphoned off to the countries downstream based on the agreement signed by Al-Sisi in 2015.

Read: Eritrea denies plans to sabotage Ethiopian dam with Egypt

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  • Asedri Amin

    Egypt has always wanted a lion share of the Nile just as the colonial system gave it to them, things have changed, the masters are nolonger there to decide or tell Africans how to best utilize or share their resources. Ethiopia has the absolute right to use the Nile water to the best of their judgment with or without consultations of Sudan or Egypt.
    It’s in the best interest of Egypt to cease intimidating Ethiopia otherwise Egypt will have to face the entire subshaharan Africa over issue of the dam.

  • Aderu Jani

    In my view, the discussion pertaining to GERD between Egypt and Ethiopia is not on the substantive issues of the technical and operational nature but always their political positions. At this juncture in time, it is not the best course of action for the people of the two countries to fail to discuss. It is not 19th or 20th century that one country dominates the other. In the midst of global uncertainties, population explosion and climate change, countries benefit most if they cooperate, exchange ideas and support each other in the spirit of fraternity and hydro-solidarity. Times are gone that countries subvert other countries for dominance and benefit alone from a shared resources. Times are gone that a riparian country is always suspicious of the other country of subversion. That is not helpful to both countries in the long run as animosity dies hard unless its spine is broken though bold admission and submission to substantive and transparent discussion and strike agreement. Countries should think in terms of shared human destiny, peaceful co-existence. This is the time leadership calibre as bold as Anwar Sadat is needed. The matter at hand needs a sound scientific solution. It is not beyond the realm of science.

    Coming to the technical aspect of the dam, if Egypt is not against the construction of dam and if Ethiopia agrees to the substance of ‘no appreciable harm operation’ then the best course of action at this junction is to immediately discuss on the most substantive matter of operation aspects of the reservoir. In this regard, countries can discuss on the following points i) to transparently share important hydrological data sets as away of trust building and furthermore agree to modernize the hydrological stations for accuracy; ii) establish a shared hydro-meteorological seasonal forecasting system that guides reservoir operation in the Eastern Nile System and iii) focus on immediate and substantive issues of GERD reservoir operation during the filling stage as well as long term operation of the reservoir. I think if we do the scientific analysis properly and use transparent river basin models, robust agreements can be reached easily. Science will not lie whether we do it in Europe, USA, Egypt or Ethiopia. As a matter of fact, we did the study in Ethiopia, there is insignificant impact in Egypt. I think many scientists agree also there is no significant harm to Egypt. The only harm that may occur due to the absence of substantive agreement is hydro-solidarity, win win development, and beyond the water cooperation that will create larger economic bloc in Africa. As a matter of chance, the three countries of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have highly qualified and professional Water Ministers that gives a chance to reach consensus and agreement given the opportunities.