Seleshi, Guterres Hold talks over Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

ADDIS ABABA – The Water, Irrigation and Energy minister has briefed the United Nations General Secretary on Monday about the overall construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Water Minister Seleshi Bekele went to New York last week where he made a successful presentation at the UN Security Council on the multibillion-dollar dam project.

Today, the minister held a meeting with UN SG Antonio Guterres at the UN headquarters.

“I briefed him on the GERD construction stage, second-year filling and AU led negotiation,” Seleshi said in a brief message posted on Twitter.

During the meeting, Seleshi also clarified Ethiopia’s position on the outstanding technical and legal issues to conclude the rules and guidelines on GERD.

The parties have been unable to agree a framework for engagement to settle outstanding issues, which include a dispute resolution mechanism as well as the management of the dam during protracted drought.

Seleshi expressed his belief the issue can be resolved through a faithful negotiation under the AU-led mediation.

“The solution rests on faithful negotiation, taking into account African wisdom and seeking African Solution to African Problems,” he said. “Africa is capable of solving its challenges taking into account international best practices on trans-boundary waters.”

Seleshi appreciates UNSC

Last week, Egypt and Sudan circumvented the AU mediation and called for the intervention of the UN Security Council after Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the hydroelectric dam on the Nile.

The UN Security Council, however, backed AU-led efforts to mediate in the dispute over dam Ethiopia is building over the Blue Nile during its meeting on Thursday.

“We appreciate the understanding of the members of the Council on genuine development endeavors of Ethiopia and that the matter be returned to the AU,” Seleshi said. “Ethiopia, as always, is ready to engage with the parties to negotiate & finalize an equitable and win-win deal”.
Ethiopia says the dam is key to its economic development and power generation. Egypt fears the water flow will be affected by a hydroelectric dam while unpredictable Sudan changes position being broadly welcoming to being suspicious and belligerent in the past 12 months alone.