Ethiopia, Egypt Reach on Win-Win Agreement

Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the sidelines of the Russia–Africa Summit in the Russian resort city of Sochi.

The two leaders discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest between the two countries.

During a parliament question-and-answer session held last Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed announced a plan to meet the Egyptian leader to talk on issues pertinent to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In his remark the Prime Minister said Ethiopia has no intention to harm downstream countries. The construction of the dam benefits both the people of Sudan and Egypt.

Ethiopia recently rejected the new proposal submitted by Egypt regarding the dam, which it is building in Benishanguel Gumuz regional state.

In its new approach, Egypt proposed the dam to release 40 billion cubic meters of water every year and more water when the Aswan Dam goes below 165 meters above sea level as well as invited a third party.

Ethiopia rejected the new approach stating its reason that “the proposal violates its rights on the waters of the Nile and harms its national interest”.

Ethiopia further said “Egypt’s new approach regarding the dam is an unwarranted denial of the progress in the trilateral technical dialogue.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Ethiopia and Egypt have agreed on issues that ascertain the mutual benefit of their people.

Premier Abiy and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met and discussed on bilateral agendas at the sideline of Russia-Africa summit in Sochi.

Briefing journalists, the Premier stated that he had a fruitful discussion with President el-Sisi.

Abiy added that both countries are keen to work together based on win-win approach and thereby ensuring the benefit of their people.

Stating that Egypt’s concern is related to the filling of GERD, he added “we have agreed the technical committee to look into it and to discuss about it for the decision.”

Abiy noted that this of course will not harm the Egyptian people’s interest rather ensuring the mutual benefit of the peoples’ of the two countries.

“The project should not be a center of attention. We have discussed on jointly planting trees to receive rainfall to which President el-Sisi responded positively,” the Premier said.

Furthermore, Abiy stated that some media’s attempt to create conflict between the two countries will eventually decline while the project will continue to realize the development.

“We can have political discussions while the technical discussions who have met for the fifth round so far will continue separately and it will not obstruct the technical committee’s work,” he reiterated.  

Ethiopia began to construct GERD in 2011 to fill the power deficit it is facing and to use for its economic development though downstream countries particularly Egypt have shown concerns from the outset that it may affect their share and use of the water of Nile.

Understanding the concern, Prime Minister Abiy last week affirmed that “Ethiopia will continue to build the dam and use it to generate power without committing any harm on the water needs of the neighboring countries”.

Ethiopia also made clear that it stands ready to resolve any differences and outstanding concerns by consultation among the three riparian countries.

But, Egypt during the recent tripartite negotiations in Cairo, has submitted a new proposal that doesn’t go in line with the consensus and declaration of principles that were reached in Khartoum, Sudan.