Ethiopia Reiterates Stance over Right to Use Nile River

ADDIS ABEBA – Ministry of Foreign affairs said on Friday Ethiopia will not accept any stance that will hurt its sovereign rights over Nile River dam project.

The statement came days after Addis Ababa rejected Cairo’s proposal on how to operate the Dam, which ministry of water called “inappropriate”.

Egypt’s proposal suggests the filling of the dam’s reservoir to be conducted within seven years.

It also requires a minimum of a guaranteed 40 billion meter cubic of water to be released every year and demands to maintain High Aswan Dam at 165 meters above sea level.

Ethiopia is constructing the renaissance dam to eradicate poverty, said Nebiat Getachew, spokesperson of foreign ministry during his biweekly media briefing.

“We will continue to use the river to benefit our its people based on the international law,” he said.

Nebyait described Egypt’s proposal over the filing of the dam as “very complex and difficult to accept” and “puts Ethiopia’s sovereignty in question” if implemented.

The spokesperson said Ethiopia firmly believes in the trilateral talks over the dam and keen to avoid any unilateral decision that will interrupt the discussion.

Speaking to reporters in Addis Abeba on Wednesday, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Sileshi Bekele said Ethiopia will put forward another proposal.

The counter-proposal will focus on how many years Ethiopia needs to fill in the dam and the amount of water to be released from GERD annually.

The round of negotiations held in Egypt between the water ministers of the three countries began on Sunday morning and ended on Monday evening, without final agreement due to Egypt’s inappropriate’ proposal, according to Ethiopian officials.

Addis Abeba and Cairo are at odds over Ethiopia’s rejection of the Egypt proposal. Sudan holds a similar stand with Ethiopia.

The three countries, however, plans to resume their talks at various levels in Khartoum. A research group drawn from the three countries will resume their discussion over the dam between September 30 and October 3.

That will be followed by a two-day meeting of the three states’ Ministers of water on October 4, according to the spokesperson.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), announced in 2011, is designed to be the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, generating more than 6,000 megawatts.

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By Sisay Sahlu

Photo Caption: Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nebiat Getachew