The tedious behavior of Egypt throughout the negotiations of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has infuriated Ethiopia and it has boldly warned Egypt to consider its actions.
In his firm and straightforward latest media briefing, Gedu Andargachew, Minister of Foreign Affairs has made it clear that no further negotiations will be held once Egypt walks out of the recently held virtual meetings that were focused on how initial filling and water management of the dam should be handled.
The minister has called the Egyptians “one-legged and half-hearted”, highlighting Cairo’s little interest in a round table solution. Instead, Egyptian authorities have been looking elsewhere for help to pressure Ethiopia to stall its progress reaching the filling stage of the dam. Egypt has announced that it has referred the GERD issue to the United Nations Security Council, hampering efforts of faithful negotiations.
Gedu irately denounced the subtle approaches of Egyptian authorities and negotiators. “They are in the negotiations just to dictate terms and to set their own interests rather than pursuing real dialogues”, Gedu said, stating his frustrations.
He further pointed out that Egypt never benefits from the despair of Ethiopians. “Our country’s lack of peace, lack of development and poverty never ensures sustainable welfare for the Egyptian people. Successive Egyptian governments couldn’t understand this vital reality,” Gedu underlined.
Further elaborating on how skewed the Egyptian side was acting during the rounds of video conference meetings, the foreign minister was so verbal about the subversive methods the other side has deliberately employed to alter the process. “Negotiation essentially is a give and take process. But we are negotiating with forces who don’t want to give anything but want to take everything. Negotiating with such a kind of force is very difficult. No agreement can be made with such a force. Egyptian authorities are overwhelmingly covetous”.
Experts have been starkly showing the naked facts that it is only Egypt, as a downstream country, in the whole world trying to bar the upstream and the source of the Nile waters from using it at all. Yakob Arsano (PHD) a senior geopolitics expert who wrote about the Nile argues that Egypt lacks any legal as well as natural right to hinder Ethiopia, the single largest contributor and major source of the Nile waters, from using it in whatever form as long as it causes no potential harm in the downstream world.
When Egypt fails to dictate terms and influence Addis Ababa, it often goes back to refer to colonial era treaties which it never signed by its own authorities but insists Ethiopia abide by the accords the British masters had signed which no longer apply. “The only thing we have an abiding agreement with Egypt is the Declaration of Principles. We never and ever will recognize colonial agreements which Ethiopia had never been part of,” Gedu stated referring to the 2015 accord that Egypt has inked with Ethiopia and Sudan that clearly set out the right of equitably use of the Nile waters without potential harms to the either end.
Gedu was not shy of accusing Egypt’s explicit desire to destabilize Ethiopia and its efforts to interfere in internal affairs. “They try to interfere in our internal issues directly or the other way round”, he said. It can be recalled that Egypt used to harbor armed groups. Egypt has also been accused of financing politically and religiously detested groups in an effort to stir instabilities in Ethiopia.
Egypt seems out of all its playing cards. While Ethiopia remains only weeks away from starting the initial filling stages of the dam with 4.9 billion cubic meters, Egypt is craving to bring on board the UNSC by walking out of the recently held rounds of negotiations. However, Ethiopia has made it crystal clear that once Egypt opts to walk out, it will seek no more talks and discussions stressing on nine years of efforts. From the early inceptions of GERD, Ethiopian officials have shared design documents, operational plans and all sorts of hydro and geological findings that the dam is [phonetically] secure and the hydroelectric project will not cause any substantial harm. Egypt never liked the idea that Ethiopia deserves its fair share let alone the fact that some 70 percent of the country’s population lacks either clean water or electricity.