ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is willing to restart the African-Union led negotiation regarding the grand Ethiopian renaissance dam (Gerd) and rejects tendency to bring in other actors into the talks.
The dam has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ever since Addis Ababa broke ground on it in 2011, with Egypt and Sudan claiming it will restrict vital water supplies. Ethiopia said hydroelectric will give electricity access to much its citizens.
The three countries have held several talks on the rules of filling and operating the GERD, with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, with no avail.
The latest AU-led talks have been suspended after Sudan, whose officials are courting with Cairo, refusal to attend.
Spokesperson of Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry Ambassador Dina Mufti said his country has been negotiating “in good faith” and expressed Addis Abeba’s strong believe in AU-led negotiation.
“Ethiopia believes the AU-led negotiation over the GERD will bring win-win solution to all,” Dina Mufti, spokesperson of Ministry of foreign affairs, during a press briefing on Wednesday.
Egypt expressed its support for Sudan’s a ‘quartet mediation’ proposal, which could involve the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and the United States in the Dam talks.
Ethiopia rejects the proposal
“The tendency to invite various parties as mediators to the issue while the AU-led negotiation has not been finalized is demeaning the efforts of the AU,” he added.
“We have been negotiating in good faith and in deep belief that we have got the right to utilize our water resources without significantly harm the downstream countries, in accordance with international law principles of fair and equitable utilization of the water resources,” he said.
Dina has appreciated South Africa, the former chairperson of the African Union, “for trying to bridge the gap between the Tripartite”.
“We hope the Congolese (the current chairmanship of the African Union) will do the same,” he added.
Ethiopia, which contributes more than 80 percent of the water to Nile River, is building the multibillion US dollar dam on its own. It plans to conduct its second filling of the dam’s reservoir for July, this year.