Turkey's finance minister to visit Egypt for first time in 9 years    Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO alliance    Shell acquires Block 3 in North East El-Amriya, Egypt    Egypt's foreign inflows grow 30% since pound correction move in March – c.bank governor    Twitter board eagers to close Musk's deal, despite spam pots percentage    Saudi Arabia prolongs Yemen central bank's deposit    Egypt Knauf launches its first training centre in Egypt    Egypt uncovers official logo for COP27    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Egypt unveils 50 pound coin minted to mark Avenue of Sphinxes grand reopening    Liverpool fans: "You'll Never Walk Alone" to Cristiano Ronaldo    Hot, rainy weather hits Egypt this week    COVID-19 in Egypt: infections fall to 124 cases last week    Realme announces Global Photography Contest 2022    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Egypt's telecoms regulator announces working hours for holy month of Ramadan    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Egypt's trade with Nile basin countries climbs 26% y-o-y in 9 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Unwarranted escalation
Published in Ahram Online on 02 - 06 - 2021

Despite Egypt's good intentions towards Ethiopia and its commitment to diplomacy to solve the grave disputes surrounding the dangerous effects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on its scarce water resources, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shocked all parties concerned, both African and international, by announcing that he would build over 100 dams across the country to provide much needed development.
By making such statements, Ahmed is not only closing the door in the face of negotiations mediated by the African Union and the United States, but flagrantly furthering his escalation against Egypt and the vital interests of its people.
Water is a matter of life or death for over 100 million Egyptians who have depended on the Nile for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians even went as far as worshipping the river, recognising that without its waters there would be no agriculture or any chance of survival in the middle of vast deserts.
Egypt clearly stated that it fully understands and supports the right of the Ethiopian people to make the best possible use of their natural resources in order to achieve much needed development and growth. Since taking office seven years ago, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has demonstrated every good intention towards Ethiopia, travelling to Addis Ababa to address the parliament and confirm to the Ethiopian people that Cairo will never stand against their interests.
The latest statements by Ahmed confirmed his insistence on disregarding Egypt's good will and agreement to negotiate in good faith for over 10 years to ensure that the GERD would not reduce Egypt's legal share of Nile waters while it serves Ethiopian interests. What the Ethiopian premier announced is a continuation of a regrettable approach that disregards the rules of international law.
As stated by the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Egypt strongly rejected the statements made by Ahmed, adding that such statements show again Ethiopia's ill intent over the Nile. The statements reveal Ethiopia's engagement with the Nile River and other international rivers it shares with neighbouring countries as "inland rivers that fall under its sovereignty and are exploited to serve its interests," the Foreign Ministry said.
What should send a clear alarm signal to all concerned partners, is that the intentions revealed in Ahmed's statements violated the rules of applicable international norms that regulate utilising international rivers and obliged Ethiopia to respect the rights of other riparian states.
Ahmed's statements risk an aggravation of tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, especially since he continues to refuse reaching a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. The latest statements on plans to build yet another 100 dams without any consideration for Egypt's and Sudan's water rights, came as several reports indicated that Ethiopia had actually began filling the reservoir in early May, as further construction work on the GERD had allowed the second filling to begin.
Ethiopia's rejection of several proposals by Egypt and Sudan on the negotiation mechanism, which includes international quartet mediation, has led to the collapse of the Kinshasa talks sponsored by the African Union in April. Since then Egypt has repeatedly warned that the second filling would lead to tensions in the region and cause instability in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Sudan also fears that the GERD will put the operation of its Roseires Dam and the lives of 20 million Sudanese citizens at "a very high risk" if an agreement regulating the operation and filling of GERD is not reached before the second filling. It warned that it would take legal action if Ethiopia moves forward with the second filling of the GERD in July without first signing a legally binding agreement.
Such facts, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed's latest statements, demonstrate that the international community does not realise the risks of not reaching an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. Egypt will resume close contacts with all concerned parties, led by the AU and other partners in Africa. Cairo was also very positive in dealing with the new mission led by US Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman who toured Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan last month, and is expected to visit the three countries again soon. The option of heading to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) by Egypt and Sudan too cannot be ruled out.
In all such diplomatic contacts, Egypt will stress that any water projects and facilities must be established after coordination, consultation and agreement with the countries that may be affected by them, at the forefront of which are the downstream countries. Nevertheless, Ahmed's statements are nothing but a continuation of the unfortunate Ethiopian approach that disregards the rules of international law regulating the use of international rivers, which require Ethiopia to respect the rights of other countries bordering these rivers and not to harm their interests.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 June, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.