Cairo (UNA-OIC) – Egypt slammed Ethiopia’s unilateral initial filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Monday, during the second round of the African Union-brokered negotiations.
Egypt criticized the Ethiopian action that was taken without consultation or agreement with downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation said.
Ethiopia’s initial filling of the dam “bears negative implications that show Ethiopia doesn’t want to reach a fair agreement,” said Egyptian Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti, spelling out that the Ethiopian action “violates the Declaration of Principles” signed in Khartoum by the leaders of the three counties on 23 March 2015.
Monday’s trilateral meeting was conducted via videoconference in the attendance of observers and experts from the United States, European Union Commission and African Union Commission.
The Egyptian minister affirmed the need to seal an agreement on the filling and operating of the dam, in order to reach consensus on other controversial issues.
He referred to Egypt’s suggestion concerning the working mechanism of the talks held for two weeks, stressing that based on the 21 July AU mini-summit — held via videoconference between the heads of state of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as well as the President of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union — the ongoing negotiations will focus on filling and operating the GERD and that talks over future projects will follow after reaching agreement over the mega-dam.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the technical and legal committees will hold meetings to discuss points of contention on 4-5 August before presenting their conclusion at a ministerial meeting, slated for 6 August.