Ethiopian Officials Brief African Diplomats on GERD Talks

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s foreign and water ministers have today briefed Addis Ababa-based African ambassadors about last week’s trilateral talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The latest round of talks involving Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt over GERD in Kinshasa ended with no progress.

On Tuesday, the two top officials who attended the talks, Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen, and Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Seleshi Bekele, briefed the ambassadors.

The ministers highlighted the issues discussed in the Kinshasa talks and Addis Ababa`s perspectives on the matter, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

The two expressed Ethiopia’s strong belief in African Union-led trilateral negotiation as the only viable way to reach a win-win outcome.

The Ministers stressed that cooperation and the spirit of African brotherhood are the best options for the management and utilization of the waters of the Nile.

Demeke has expressed his disappointment on attempts of Egypt and the Sudan who claim the GERD as a threat to Arab water security while all riparian countries are Africans.

Therefore, the Minister emphasized that such polarization is not acceptable and encouraged the diplomats not to fall into these traps.

The Ministers underlined the most practical and workable way for a successful negotiation is first to agree on the first filling and related operations and then to proceed to a comprehensive agreement on the utilization of the waters of the Nile.

The Minsters informed the Ambassadors that in order to facilitate the exchange of data regarding the upcoming second year filling of the GERD, Ethiopia in good faith has taken the initiative and formally communicated through the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy to his counterparts in Sudan and Egypt.

The second filling is scheduled to commence in July, 2021.

Ethio-Sudan Border dispute

In addition to the trilateral negotiations on the GERD, the Ambassadors were briefed about the current situation along the Ethiopia-Sudan boundary.

The ministers expressed Ethiopia`s firm commitment to resolve the matter through a peaceful means based on the bilateral agreements and existing boundary mechanisms.

The Ambassadors on their part expressed their appreciation for the latest briefing.

They emphasized the importance of reaching a win-win outcome on the GERD through the AU-led negotiation based on the principle of “African solutions to Africa`s problems”, according to the ministry of foreign affairs.

They further appreciated Ethiopia`s determination to resolve the Ethiopia-Sudan boundary issue peacefully, it added.