Saturday, July 13, 2024

US supports ongoing GERD talks


In preparation for tripartite technical committee discussions made up of delegations from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, in Khartoum the White House announced support for the negotiation adding countries in the basin have a right to economic development.
During the recent meeting Egypt came up with a new proposal that Ethiopia strongly rejected saying it went against its sovereignty.
In her address President Sahlework Zewde at the UN Annual Summit said the use of the Nile is determined by mutual benefit and international rules. She added that the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should be left to the recommendations of the three countries. A day before her address Abdel Fattah el Sisi in his speech at the UN called on the international community to intervene in the GERD.
In a White House statement on Thursday October 3 support was given by the United States to Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s ongoing negotiations to reach a cooperative, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on filling and operating the GERD.
“All Nile Valley countries have a right to economic development and prosperity. The Administration calls on all sides to put forth good faith efforts to reach an agreement that preserves those rights, while simultaneously respecting each other’s Nile water equities,” the statement added.
Since Monday the three countries’ technical committee talked about the technicalities of the project.
In September at the ministerial meeting in Cairo Egypt came up with a new proposal wanting the dam to release a minimum of 40 billion cubic meters of water annually. Egypt relies on the Nile for 90 percent of its freshwater and it wants the GERD’s reservoir to release a higher volume of water than Ethiopia is willing to guarantee.
Ethiopia has not said exactly how much water they are willing to release but they feel that they should be the one to determine this amount. In his latest press conference, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Sileshi Bekele responded to Egypt’s request by saying they were contradicting commitments previously made between the three countries.
The proposal stated Ethiopia should release more water when the Aswan Dam goes below 165 meters. ‘It is unacceptable since we don’t have information about their water usage, and this does not take into account our future developmental plan,” he explained.
Ethiopia and Sudan were expected to come up with a counter proposal during the Khartoum discussion. At the same time the ministerial meeting was conducted for two days starting Friday a day after the technical committee finalized the discussion.
The ministerial meeting focuses on the recommendation of water filling drafted by the technical committee of the three countries.
Ethiopia said that GERD will start power production by the end of 2020 with two turbines. Currently about six companies are involved after the state-owned Metal and Engineering Corporation was excluded from the project.
The tripartite ministerial meeting has been halted due to political instability in Sudan for the past year. GERD will generate over 5,250MW of electricity.

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