GERD Talks Miss Target; Ethiopia Under Pressure: Official

By Staff Reporter

GERD-talksFebruary 13, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The latest talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Washington DC did are going well as the United States and World Bank are pressuring Ethiopia to negotiate on the share of the Nile water against the planned discussion issues, an Ethiopian official has disclosed.

The official who is a member of the Ethiopian delegation in Washington DC told local media on condition of anonymity that the negotiations are close to deadlock after the tripartite discussion missed its track as Egypt, Sudan, United States, and World Bank diverted the negotiations points to the Nile water share.

The official described this round of GERD talks as “disaster” because it was taking place 1 to 4 wherein Ethiopia stands on the one side and Egypt, Sudan, the US and World Bank on the other.

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan were expected to approve common deal on legal and technical documents on the filling and operations of the dam considering anticipated droughts of varying magnitudes but they failed to do so, Ethiopian Ambassador to the US, Fitsum Arega twitted on Wednesday.

“Ethiopian delegation claimed that it was not ready to dwell on the share of the Nile water which has nothing to do with the planned negotiation points but the US and World Bank insisted otherwise, the official said

Accordingly, Ethiopian legal experts are left confused as the number of articles and issues on the legal document were deliberately ignored, the official added.

Ethiopian Minister of Water, Energy, and Irrigation Dr. Engineer Seleshi Bekele at a panel discussion said that Ethiopia pursues a win-win approach to GERD negotiations as the dam is beneficial for both Ethiopia and all downstream countries.

This time around, the United States and World Bank have a mediating role as opposed to their observer status in the previous negotiations, the official said.

During the recent dialogue with MPs, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed that the US and World Bank are playing mediating roles on the GERD talks following their requests to his government.

Even though the Ethiopian delegation claims the issue on Nile water share should be discussed among all ten members of Nile basin countries, the US and World Bank are rather threatening the delegation to accept their new proposal, the official continued

Sudan has also switched side against Ethiopia as opposed to its previous positions for undisclosed reasons, said the official.

The officials said that currently the Ethiopian delegation finds itself in a weak negotiating position with little outside support and is under critical pressure to negotiate on the share of the Nile water.

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