GERD Talks: Ethiopia Won’t Sign Deal that Compromises National Interest

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will sign an agreement with Egypt and Sudan only when its national interest and future development on utilizing its water resources are guaranteed, a member of its GERD negotiating team said.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) in its presidential statement recently called for quick resumption of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks under the auspices of the African Union and the signing of a binding agreement.

The issue is in the hands of the individual countries, said Ibrahim Idris, GERD negotiation team member, while speaking to the state-run news agency ENA about the idea of signing a binding agreement.

However, he said “Ethiopia will not compromise on its national interest by any means.

“If Ethiopia signs any agreement with Egypt and Sudan, it will happen only when its national interest and its future development on utilizing its water resources are guaranteed,” he added.

The ongoing stance of Sudan and Egypt will only prolong the lasting of agreement rather than finding a viable solution to the matter, according to Ibrahim.

With respect to a lasting solution, he noted that the only way to get a lasting solution to the ongoing negotiation is by just stopping politicizing and internationalizing the issue and coming with genuine solutions avoiding denial of facts.

Commenting on the overall nature of the recent call by the UNSC, Ibrahim pointed out that “the call of the UNSC is to reach an agreement that is signed by the will of the three countries. It didn’t say this country should benefit or that country should be deprived.”

The presidential statement further calls on building on the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to reach an agreement on GERD.

The Declaration of Principles (DoP) on the GERD, which was signed by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan in Khartoum on March 23, 2015, says cooperation must be based on mutual understanding, mutual interest, good intentions, benefit for all, and the principles of international law.