Ethiopia Expresses Dismay over Arab Parliament’s Resolution on GERD

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia House speaker Tagesse Chaffo has expressed his dismay about Arab parliament recent “discriminatory” resolution regarding Nile River and the dam Addis Ababa is building on the river.

The speaker has urged the Arab parliament to correct its position.

“It is with great dismay that I learned of the Resolution,” House speaker Tagesse said of the resolution issued on the 31st Oct 2019 in Cairo regarding Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Tagesse said this in a letter written on November 25, 2019, and addressed to the speaker of the Arab Parliament Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami.

The resolution claims the Arab parliament’s solidarity with Egypt and Sudan in protecting their water security and its full support for all measures taken by Egypt.

“It is very unfortunate that the Arab Parliament chose to express its resolve to stand by Egypt’s historical rights on the Nile waters while it has remained silent on the rights of Ethiopia – a country that is the source of more than 85 percent of the Nile waters while 67 percent of the populations do not have access to electricity,” the letter reads.

“By virtue of this Resolution, we see a discriminatory view to Ethiopia’s critical rights to bring its population out of abject poverty by improving their access to electricity,” it says.

The Nile Basin river system flows through 11 countries. But the entire Nile water resources have all along been allocated between Egypt and the Sudan, based on the 1929 and the 1959 Colonial Treaties.

Ethiopia was not a party to the agreements and rejected it from the onset.

“Since Ethiopia is not a party to these Treaties, we are not bound by them under Internationals law,” Tagesse said.

– Urge to correct position –

Ethiopia also insists it is building the hydropower project is crucial to its economic development, and is seen by Addis Ababa as a step toward redressing a historic imbalance in the exploitation of the Nile’s waters.

The multi-billion dam is designed to be the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, generating more than 6,000 megawatts.

“The GERD is a hydropower dam and, hence, does not consume water,” Tagesse said adding “It merely needs care during filling of its reservoir”.

Ethiopia has already shared its filling plan of the Dam’s reservoir on 19 December 2017 to Egypt and Sudan which is entirely compatible with the principles contained in the 2015 Declaration of Principles.

“Therefore, Ethiopia urges the Arab Parliament to correct its position on the Nile and the Great Renaissance Dam, and refrain from encouraging the ‘winner takes it all’ approach of Egypt towards cooperation on the Nile,” the statement says.

Ethiopia said at the start of the year that the dam should be fully operational by 2022.