Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that his country is ready to resume negotiations with Egypt and Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
In a speech to the Ethiopian Parliament on Thursday, Abiy said that the fourth filling of the GERD will extend until September 2023, “so that the downstream countries will not be harmed.”
He added that Ethiopia is committed to finding a fair and reasonable solution to the GERD dispute and that he hopes that the upcoming negotiations will be successful.
The Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Demiki Mekonnen, also spoke about the GERD on Thursday, saying that the project is nearing completion and that it will not harm the downstream countries.
He added that the GERD is a model initiative that defends the fair and reasonable use of the Nile waters.
Egypt and Sudan have been concerned about the GERD since its construction began in 2011. They fear that the dam will reduce their share of the Nile River water.
The three countries have been negotiating on the GERD for over a decade, but they have not been able to reach an agreement.
In 2021, the dispute was referred to the United Nations Security Council, but the council was unable to reach a resolution.
Ethiopia has completed three stages of filling the mega Nile River dam in 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Several Egyptian experts have warned that Ethiopia may take advantage of the ongoing conflict in Sudan to fill the dam for a fourth time, while Sudan and Egypt are preoccupied with the conflict.
Days before the conflict in Sudan, Ethiopia announced that it had finished building 90% of the dam, amid escalating tensions with the two downstream countries over the lack of agreement on filling and operation, and Ethiopia’s unilateral actions without consulting or coordinating with Egypt and Sudan.
The failure to reach an agreement between the three countries has led to increased political tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, and the issue has been referred to the UN Security Council, which has held two sessions on the matter without reaching a decision.
The upcoming negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan will be a critical opportunity to find a solution to the GERD dispute.
The stakes are high, as the GERD could have a significant impact on the water security of all three countries.
Source : Zawya