Ethiopia Rejects Egyptian Proposal on Filling of Renaissance Dam

By Staff Reporter

Dr-Seleshi-BekeleSeptember 18, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia has rejected Egypt’s new proposal demanding to release 40 billion cubic meters of the Nile water annually to downstream countries.

Egypt’s new proposal, which was forwarded during the recent tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in Cairo, also requests Ethiopia to fill the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) more gradually, but not in less than seven years.

Briefing journalists on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr Engineer Seleshi Bekele said Ethiopia rejected the proposal as it breached the previous agreement signed between the three countries in Khartoum on the fair utilization of the Nile waters.

The proposal is against the transboundary law and best practices that govern other countries which share cross-border rivers, he said

According to the minister, the proposal also requires Ethiopia to release additional water when the volume water in Aswan dam drops below 165 meters above sea level.

“The main problem with Egypt’s proposal is of technical which requires Ethiopia to release average water volume to downstream countries every year,” he said

“Ethiopia cannot be sure on the volume of water it would release to downstream countries due to different reasons, including growing demand of water for development purposes in the country, Sileshi added. Egypt proposed the timing of filling the dam should be from seven to ten years, but Ethiopia has so far insisted that it should be only three years.

Following Ethiopia’s refusal to Egypt’s proposal, the tripartite talks held in Cairo between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt failed to address the dam’s technical aspects and was limited to discussing procedural aspects and deliberations on the meeting’s agenda without discussing substantive issues, Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said in a statement.

“Egypt’s move is to make decision unilaterally on the dam which belongs to other people. Its representatives refused to come on board based on previous discussion but talking about the new proposal,” the minister said

In light of this disagreement, the three countries agreed to hold an urgent meeting with the independent scientific group that was set in Khartoum at the end of September to discuss Egypt’s proposal on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam. Ethiopia and Sudan are expected to present counter proposals during the meeting.

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