Egypt Calls on Ethiopia to Respect Downstream Water Rights in GERD Dispute

 Egypt has urged Ethiopia to uphold the water rights of downstream countries regarding the management of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Abu Zeid, responded to Ethiopia's claim that colonial-era agreements were "defunct," stating that such assertions were misleading. Egypt called on Ethiopia to fulfill its international obligations towards downstream countries and cease using this claim as a means to evade responsibility. The ongoing dispute over the GERD has led to tensions between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. 

Egypt's Response to Ethiopia's Claims

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Abu Zeid, criticized Ethiopia for asserting that agreements signed during the colonial period were no longer valid. He described Ethiopia's position as misleading and emphasized the need for Ethiopia to honor its international obligations towards downstream countries concerning the operation of the GERD. Abu Zeid called on Ethiopia to refrain from using this claim as a means to evade responsibility and to engage in constructive dialogue to address the concerns raised by Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia's Protest and Response

Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response to a resolution adopted by the Arab League (AL), which called on Ethiopia to halt its "unilateral filling and operation" of the dam, citing potential harm to Egypt's and Sudan's interests. Ethiopia protested against the AL resolution and accused Egypt of pressuring Ethiopia through the AL forum. Ethiopia called on Egypt to stop referencing "defunct colonial agreements" without providing further details. In response, Abu Zeid clarified that the agreements in question were signed in 1902 between Britain, representing Egypt and Sudan, and an independent Ethiopia.

Arab-African Dispute or Cooperation

Abu Zeid criticized Ethiopia's attempt to portray the Arab League's support for Egypt's position as an Arab-African dispute, stating that it was a desperate attempt to create divisions between Arab and African countries. He emphasized that Arab support for Egypt's stance on the GERD issue is based on justice and responsibility, rather than an intercontinental dispute. Egypt seeks cooperation and dialogue among all concerned parties to find a mutually acceptable solution.

Concerns and Negotiations

The construction of the GERD began in 2011, with the aim of generating over 6,000 megawatts of electricity. However, downstream Nile Basin countries, Egypt and Sudan, have expressed concerns about the potential impact of the dam on their water resources. Negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have been ongoing for years but have faced numerous challenges. In April 2021, the negotiations were suspended. The parties involved need to resume discussions and find a comprehensive and equitable agreement that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders.

The dispute surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam remains a source of tension between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Egypt has called on Ethiopia to respect the water rights of downstream countries and fulfill its international obligations. Ethiopia's claim regarding colonial-era agreements has been dismissed by Egypt, highlighting the need for constructive dialogue and cooperation. The resolution adopted by the Arab League underscores the regional concerns over the dam's impact. It is crucial for all parties to resume negotiations and work towards a mutually beneficial solution that ensures water security for all stakeholders in the Nile Basin region.