Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry headed to Washington DC on Saturday, to attend the meetings on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
On Friday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry rejected a statement issued by Ethiopia regarding the outcomes of recent ministerial meetings of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD. held on 8-9 January in Addis Ababa, describing that it is full of inaccurate information.
In a statement on Friday, the Egyptian ministry said that the Ethiopian statement presented an image completely contrary to what was happening in the negotiations, explaining that the last four trilateral meetings between the irrigation ministers of the countries did not reach any agreement due to Ethiopia’s intransigence.
In response to remarks by Ethiopian officials that Egypt submitted a new proposal to fill the Dam in 12 – 21 years, the ministry clarified that Egypt did not specify a number of years, and that the number of years were agreed among three countries more than a year ago. Under this agreement, the filling of the dam would take place in stages, depending on the Blue Nile’s yearly flow.
On Thursday, Ethiopian Minister of Irrigation Seleshi Bekele said that the three sides failed to reach an agreement on the filling of the dam as Egypt presented a new proposal requesting the filling to be carried out in 12-21 years, saying “This is not acceptable. We will start the filling of the dam by July.”
Egypt said that all the previous negotiations failed due to the “intransigence of Ethiopia in its intention to impose and extend control of the Blue Nile and the filling and operations of the dam,” neglecting interests of other downstream countries.
Egypt further condemned the allegations of the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry that Egypt seeks to monopolise the waters of the Nile, as it accused Egypt of trying to reinforce “self-claimed sole ownership of the Nile waters”.
Egypt’s irrigation ministry said on Thursday that the new proposal submitted by Egypt ensures highly efficient electricity production for Ethiopia efficiency during times of drought while at the same time securing Egypt’s water interests.
However, it continued that the three countries could not reach an agreement on the amount of water to be released from the dam under various hydrological conditions in the Blue Nile.
However, Egypt confirmed that in Friday’s statement that it will participate in the meeting scheduled by the US Treasury Secretary with the Foreign and Water Ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in Washington on 13 and 14 January.
The three countries are scheduled to continue negotiation on 13 January in Washington with the aim of resolving their disagreements over the filling and operation of the dam. An international mediator will be appointed to help resolve the issue in case the three sides do not reach any agreement by 15 January, according to the deal the countries reached in Washington.