Ethiopia Accepts US-Mediated Talks on GERD

By Staff Reporter

Washington-DC-GERD-MediationOctober 31, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia has accepted an invitation from the US government to participate in Washington-mediated talks on the filling of the Grand Renaissance Dam, a Spokesperson for the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has disclosed.

Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt will be represented by their foreign ministers in Washington DC to take part in an American-mediated talks to be held in the coming days, Nebiat Getachew, Spokesperson of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said in a briefing on Thursday.

He said Ethiopia will stick to its previous stands, including the dam’s filling period of not more than five years as opposed to Egypt’s recent proposal to be not less than 10 years.

Among other things, Egypt’s recent proposal demanded Ethiopia to release 40 billion cubic meters of water to downstream countries every year and to keep the water volume in the Aswan dam of Egypt to 165 meters above sea level.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met on the sidelines of Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi and agreed to utilize the river Nile in a way that does not compromise the benefits of their people.

Egypt proposed the involvement of a third party and leaders’ of the three countries to resolve differences in the use of Abay River (Blue Nile), which Ethiopia once again opposed.

Ethiopian minister of water energy and irrigation, Dr. Sileshi Bekele, had said the filling process of the GERD’s reservoir will take six years if there is high flood in the highlands of Ethiopia, eight years during the normal rainfall and flooding, 13 and 16 years during dry and extreme dry climatic conditions, respectively, in the highlands of Ethiopia.

Stating Egypt’s concern related to the filling of the GERD, PM Abiy Ahmed told local journalists that, “we agreed on the technical committee to resume talks on technical matters.” The leaders also agreed to launch a tree-planting project to induce more rainfall in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia launched the GERD project in 2011 to meet the power deficit and for its economic development, although downstream countries, particularly Egypt, expressed concern that it may affect their share and use of the waters of Nile.

Ethiopia once again said it ready to resolve any differences with Egypt and other riparian countries based on knowledge and the principle of fair utilization of the Nile water.

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