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Egypt 'categorically rejects' Ethiopia's statement on Arab League resolution over GERD
Published in Ahram Online on 07 - 03 - 2020

Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs "categorically rejects" the statement issued on Friday by the Ethiopian foreign ministry on the resolution adopted by the Council of the Arab League (AL) regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The resolution of the AL council, which was proposed by Egypt to the AL to support both Egypt and Sudan in the dispute over GERD, was adopted without amendment during the AL ministerial meeting on Wednesday, with Sudan officially registering its reservations, according to Egypt's MENA agency.
Ethiopia said on Friday that it “noted with dismay” the resolution by the AL, and rejected it in its entirety.
In response, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that the Ethiopian statement is "inappropriate, undiplomatic, and constitutes an unacceptable affront to the AL and its member states".
"The fact that the AL adopted a resolution calling on Ethiopia to respect the applicable rules of international law and not to undertake unilateral measures that could harm Egyptian riparian rights and interests is a testament to the extent to which Ethiopia unilaterally considers its interests not only as superseding, but also superior to, the collective interests of the sovereign states of the Arab League which it seeks to suppress," the foreign ministry statement said.
The Saturday statement added that "this resolution adopted by the AL reflects dismay and discontent at Ethiopia's track record throughout the endless rounds of negotiations on the GERD, particularly since the conclusion of the 2015 Agreement on Declaration of Principles (DoP)."
"Ethiopia's posture and position during these negotiations, which has been criticized by the AL, evinces its intent to exercise hydro-hegemony and to anoint itself as the unchallenged and sole beneficiary over the Nile. This is especially apparent in its insistence on filling the GERD unilaterally in July 2020 without reaching an agreement with downstream states, and while holding negotiations on the GERD hostage to domestic political considerations. This constitutes a material breach of the DoP and demonstrates, beyond any doubt, Ethiopia's bad faith and its lack of political will to reach a fair and balanced agreement on the GERD," the statement said.
Ethiopia hopes the massive $4.8 billion megaproject on the Blue Nile, which has been under construction since 2011, will allow it to become Africa's largest power exporter.
Cairo fears the dam will diminish its water supply from the Nile, on which it relies for the vast majority of its fresh water.
"Nowhere is this true nature of Ethiopia's position more apparent than in the fact that it failed to accept an agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD that was prepared by neutral and impartial mediators, namely the United States in coordination with the World Bank. In a show of political support, the AL welcomed and endorsed this agreement and invited Ethiopia to revisit its position and reconsider signing this agreement," the ministry said.
Tensions between Cairo and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam mounted over the past week after Addis Ababa skipped US-sponsored talks in Washington that aimed to reach a final deal between the three nations over the giant hydropower project.
Washington, which has been brokering talks since last year, failed to secure signatures from the three countries last week, stressing that the filling of the 6,000-megawatt dam "should not take place without an agreement."
Only Egypt initialled the agreement during the latest meetings, saying it is "fair and balanced" and "achieves the interest of the three countries."
Egypt's foreign ministry stated that "given its policies during the GERD negotiations, Ethiopia is in no position to lecture the AL or its member states on the common values, cultural ties, and bonds of kinship between the Arab and African peoples, which are not the purview of Ethiopia to define".
Ethiopia's policy on the GERD is a further assertion of the unilateral nature of its regional conduct that has resulted in continuing harm and suffering for multitudes of our African brethren, the ministry noted.
"We, therefore, urge the international community to join the AL in taking cognizance of the Ethiopia's continuing defiance and unilateralism, which threatens to undermine regional stability and security. We also call on Ethiopia to affirm its commitment not to commence the filling of the GERD without an agreement, and to accept the agreement prepared by the neutral mediators," the ministry added.
A balanced, win-win solution, the ministry said, is at hand and the opportunity to chart a new course and redraw the history of the Blue Nile is within our grasp and should be seized for the benefit of over 240 million Egyptians, Ethiopians and Sudanese.

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