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News: Ethiopia stays firm on solving GERD issue “under the auspices of the ongoing AU-led negotiation”

Ambassador Dina Mufti. Photo: MoFA

Addis Abeba, March 09/2021 – In his latest biweekly media briefing to local media, Ambassador Dina Mufti clarified Ethiopia’s long standing position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) vis a vis Egypt’s and Sudan’s position to get third parties involved in mediation process.

“The GERD issue can be solved under the auspices of the ongoing African Union-led negotiation which does not necessitate the involvement of a different party over the issue as a mediator,” Ambassador Dina said, adding “Ethiopia strongly believes that African problems can be solved through African Solutions and the African Union and the DRC are perfectly capable of coming up with win-win solutions to all.”

On March 05 the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the United Nations “is available to support and participate in the African Union-led negotiation process on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” according to a telephone readout the secretary General has with Sameh Hassan Shoukry Selim, Foreign Minister of Egypt. The Secretary-General “confirmed that the United Nations is available to support and participate in the African Union-led negotiation process” on the GERD, and that it was “at the invitation of the Chairperson of the African Union, President Felix Tshisekedi…hoping the process will count on the full engagement of the parties in a serious negotiation.”

The Nile basin is a shared water resource where all downstream and upstream countries will benefit from negotiations

Ambassador Dina Mufti

It is to be
recalled that last week Ambassador Dina reiterated that  attempts to bring in other parties to mediate while the AU-led negotiations are still ongoing is “demeaning the efforts of
the AU.”

The following is the latest development on GERD. Remarks attributable to Ambassador Dina Mufti:

– Members of the Presidential Panel formed by the
President of the DRC on the tripartite negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian
Renaissance Dam had visited Ethiopia from March 03 to 07, 2021. During the
meeting, the delegation held talks with the President of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs, the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, and representatives of
negotiating countries.

– Before the Congolese group visited Ethiopia, it made
similar visits to South Africa, Egypt, and Sudan, where they have gathered
information on the views of the countries on the tripartite talks. Egypt and
Sudan said they recognize Ethiopia’s right to development, but they have their
own concerns.

In this regard:

– Sudan is concerned about dam safety, information
exchange, and Ethiopia’s unilateral action.

– Egypt wants the negotiations to focus on legal
issues and reach a binding agreement under international law.

– Egypt and Sudan have stated that they will never
accept the completion of the second year of the dam without an agreement.

– The AU, UN, USA, and EU should play as mediators

*The Ethiopian sides made it clear that:

– The Nile basin is a shared water resource where all
downstream and upstream countries will benefit from negotiations

– Ethiopia has the natural and legal right to utilize
its water resources fairly and equitably without causing significant harm to
downstream countries

– The questions of dam safety and information exchange
that are raised by the Sudanese side have been adequately addressed and they
could not be reasons for complaint at all

– The tendency to stick to the status quo of the
colonial era agreements under the name of reaching binding agreements is not
acceptable

– The GERD issue can be solved under the auspices of
the ongoing African Union-led negotiation which does not necessitate the
involvement of a different party over the issue as a mediator.

– Ethiopia strongly believes that African problems can
be solved through African Solutions and the African Union and the DRC are
perfectly capable of coming up with win-win solutions to all.

– The Ethiopian Diplomatic Group on the Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has held its regular discussion last week in person
and online. The group exchanged information on current issues related to the
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.



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