Egypt & Sudan Need to Respect AU-led Dam Talks, Ethiopia says

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia called upon members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to urge Egypt and Sudan to return to the tripartite negotiations on the first filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and respect the AU-led process.

In a letter addressed to the current President of the UNSC on 16 April 2021, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen recalled the AU-led process has enjoyed the full support of the UN Security Council on the basis of the principles of complementarity and in the spirit of finding African solutions to African problems.

The latest round of talks between the three nations over the GERD in Kinshasa ended with no progress after Sudan and Egypt pushed to minimize African Union’s role and involve other parties as mediators.

Egypt and Sudan are not negotiating in good faith and are not ready to make the necessary concessions to reach a win-win outcome, Demeke said in the letter.

The Foreign minister further stated that the two countries chose to “scuttling” the negotiation and “internationalizing” the issue to exert undue pressure on Ethiopia.

The letter affirmed Ethiopia’s unwavering commitment and trust over the AU-led tripartite negotiation and expressed the country’s gratitude for the genuine efforts of South Africa and now the D.R. Congo to address the matter in the spirit of African solutions for African problems.

The letter also recalled Ethiopia’s initiative on data exchange before the commencement of the second filling of the dam in the upcoming rainy season, which the two downstream countries declined.

After the Kinshasa meeting, Ethiopia emphasized that the second-year filling of the dam reservoir would be carried out as scheduled and expressed its readiness to facilitate data and information exchange on the filling, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Ethiopia cannot enter into an agreement that would foreclose its current and future legitimate rights over the utilization of the Nile,” it added‮.‬

The insistence by the two countries to maintain the unjust status quo and foreclose Ethiopia’s water use upstream of the GERD under the pretext of “concluding a binding comprehensive agreement” is unacceptable, said the letter.

The letter also underlined Ethiopia’s firm commitment to the Declaration of Principle (DoP) that was signed by the leaders of the three countries and noted that Egypt and Sudan are reneging their commitment that they have entered under the DoP.

“Any attempt to pressure Ethiopia” and sideline the AU-led process will “further undermine trust and confidence among the three countries, the letter concludes.