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Ethiopia Paves Way to Resume Dam Talks with Egypt

Ethiopia Paves Way to Resume Dam Talks with Egypt

Thursday, 28 May, 2020 - 07:00
The construction site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul-Gumuz Region, Ethiopia. (Reuters)
Cairo 0- Mohammed Abdo Hasanen

Addis Ababa has been preparing the ground to resume negotiations over the Grand Renaissance Dam following three months of stringent stances.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry also announced that Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan have agreed to resume talks.

Initially, talks were halted after Ethiopia withdrew from a decisive meeting in Washington at the end of February under the patronage of the World Bank and the US Treasury.

For the past three months, Ethiopia showed stringent standpoints towards Egypt and announced intention to start filling the dam in July. Pressured by the UN, the EU, and China, Ethiopia showed more flexibility.

“We need not focus on our differences right now but join forces in our support to our dam,” said Mussa Adem, chairman of the Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council, adding that political forces in the country should enhance their unity around GERD.

Matthias Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church said that the government should complete the dam construction based on mutual agreement with the river source countries, and without foreign interventions.

Dr. Abbas al-Sharaki, a water resources expert at the Institute of African Studies at Cairo University, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Ethiopian attempts to return to the dialogue table teeter between the actual intention and procrastinating.

According to Sharaki, Addis Ababa aims to gain time and start a conflict between Egypt and river source counters on each country’s share of the waters.

Egypt's former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Nasreddin Allam addressed the Egyptian government regarding several reservations expressed by experts towards the return to negotiations with Ethiopia.

He said Ethiopia has failed to prove commitment to agreements such as the agreements signed in 1902 and 1993 with Egypt, as well as the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015.

However, the minister deemed the negotiations as unnecessary given the repeated statements by Ethiopia of its intention to conduct the filling of the dam in July.

The majority sees any potential talks with Ethiopia are fertile without international supervision.

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