Ethiopia expected Thursday to resolve its dispute with Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is being built on a tributary of the Nile amid fears in Egypt that it would harm its water share in the river.
Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy Sileshi Bekele said that Egypt and Ethiopia have “solved the main disputes,” related to the dam, thanks to US-led mediation.
During an event organized by the Institute for Strategic Affairs at the Hyatt Regency in the capital Addis Ababa, Bekeke said there should be a “win-win” approach.
The Minister reassured Ethiopians that the country “will never sign an agreement that harms the country’s national interest.”
But, in return, he demanded that water be divided fairly between all concerned parties.
His comments came amid increasing alarm among Ethiopians on the negotiations between their country and the two other concerned states, Egypt and Sudan.
On Wednesday, Beleke told journalists that “if there is a single word in the document to be signed that could compromise Ethiopia’s right to use the water, Ethiopia will not sign it.”
The US Treasury has been sponsoring the talks since November, with the participation of the World Bank.
Officials from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had on two occasions in January delayed the signing of the deal to resolve the GERD dispute.
Foreign ministers and water resources officials from the three African countries held four days of talks in Washington last week to address the issue. They reached a final understanding to sign the deal by the end of February.
Last week, in a joint statement with the US and World Bank, the African officials announced that they agreed on a schedule for the staged filling of the dam and mitigation mechanisms to adjust its filling and operation during dry periods and drought.