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Cairo Accuses Addis Ababa of ‘Intransigence’ in GERD Talks

Cairo Accuses Addis Ababa of ‘Intransigence’ in GERD Talks

Monday, 25 January, 2021 - 10:15
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Nile. Reuters file photo

Egypt has once again held Addis Ababa responsible for the stalled talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which it is constructing on the Nile River.

Egyptian Minister of Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Aty criticized on Sunday Ethiopia’s ongoing “intransigence” on GERD.

During the parliament’s plenary session, Abdel Aty stressed that the dam dispute concerns the Egyptian state and all its institutions.

The minister said the dispute has taken two courses of negotiations. The first was mediated by the US and the World Bank in early 2020, and the second by the African Union, which has been sponsoring talks between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa since July 2020, despite lack of progress.

Addis Ababa has earlier withdrawn from the US negotiations, Abdel Aty noted.

He pointed out that his country has responded to Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s initiative and many tripartite meetings have been held. However, they did not lead to any outcome due to Ethiopia’s intransigence on technical and legal issues.

Abdel Aty revealed that Addis Ababa withdrew from all the agreements reached between the three sides, but that Egypt, along with all its institutions, remained in the talks to resolve the crisis.

The Egyptian minister highlighted his country’s water challenges, indicating that Cairo is working to confront them through several means and a national strategic plan.

“The state is making great efforts to maximize and develop its water resources via national plans that aim to take advantage of the available resources, rationalize their use, maximize their returns and raise their efficiency.”

It is using modern technologies to manage the Nile waters, he explained.

It is also developing and modernizing the irrigation system in agriculture to increase produce, Abdel Aty noted.

Cairo and Khartoum stress the need to reach a binding agreement that guarantees the rights and interests of the three countries, and include a mechanism for settling disputes filling and operation of the dam.

They fear the potential negative impact of GERD on the flow of their annual share of the Nile’s 55.5 billion cubic meters of water.

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