“Despite the various challenges GERD is faced with, it will be completed as we promised,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told MPs.
ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has expressed its conviction that the African Union-led dialogue over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will commence soon under the leadership of the African Union chairperson DR Congo.
Ethiopia remains confident that the AU-led negotiation over the dam is an ongoing process that will provide win-win solutions to the negotiating parties, Dina Mufti, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday.
“We hope the trilateral meeting will resume soon. We believe the three countries will agree on the next process regarding issues such as filling and operation of the dam,” Dina said.
Earlier this month, Ethiopia rejected a Sudanese proposal to have an international quartet mediate the dispute, which would include the United Nations, the US, the European Union and the African Union to solve the stalled negotiations.
The Ministry said AU-led negotiation should be finalized before any other option is pursued to solve the outstanding issues.
“We do not see any reason why we go for another option as the AU-led mediation is currently active,” Dina said, confirming the current Chair of the pan African bloc, DR Congo, has already held talks with the three countries on the continuation of the mediation separately.
The issue has been a subject of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s address to the lower house of Ethiopian parliament earlier today.
He insisted the second round of filling the Dam’s reservoir in the upcoming rainy season in particular and the construction of the Dam will proceed as planned.
“We are facing opposition from filling the GERD with rain water,” he said. “The water flowing out of the Abay River never stopped flowing”.
“Our plan is to develop ourselves and benefit neighbors. Despite the various challenges GERD is faced with, it will be completed as we promised,” the Prime Minister said.
“If we wait until negotiations are finalized to fill the dam, the rainy season will pass and our country will lose 1 billion dollars a year,” he said.
“We are certain to fill the dam without causing harm to our neighbors. We would like our Egyptian and Sudanese brothers and sisters to see that our intentions are not to harm them”.
Addis Ababa maintains that the GERD is crucial to its economic development.
Ethiopia started filling the reservoir behind the dam last year after negotiations failed to result in a legally binding agreement over the GERD’s operation.
Ethiopian officials hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity in 2023, helping pull millions of its people out of poverty.