Ethiopia has claimed that the proposal to involve an international Quartet, in Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations will only prolong the duration of the dam’s second filling.
It claimed that the move towards such international involvement will undermine its rights to a fair and reasonable use of the Nile water. The Quartet will involve namely the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), and the US.
Ambassador Ibrahim Idris, an Ethiopian member of the negotiation team, said in statements to the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), that the idea of the quadripartite mediation is not a real proposal on the part of Egypt and Sudan. He claimed that it is, instead, a hoax for their cynical goal.
He also said, “The involvement of the Quartet is to pressure Ethiopia to accept their proposal, which would strip the country’s rights to develop its water resources.”
Idris said that the proposed mediators would demand a halt to the dam’s second filling before agreements are reached, and represents a very dangerous step by Egypt and Sudan to undermine development rights in Ethiopia.
Idris also said that downstream countries should accept Ethiopia’s rights to develop its water resources, and recognise that Ethiopians deserve a better life.
He stressed that Egypt, Sudan, and the international community should also recognise that Ethiopia has the full right to use its natural resources based on international law. This also affects the country’s ability to respond to the economic and comprehensive demands of its citizens.
Idris claimed that Egypt and Sudan’s ultimate goal is to strip Ethiopia of its right to use its water for development activities, both now and in the future, and as a result undermining the nation’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has reaffirmed the utmost importance of the GERD issue, identifying it as a matter of national security for Egypt.
In a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Al-Sisi said that Cairo adheres to its water rights. This will take place “by reaching a legally binding agreement that guarantees clear rules for the process of filling and operating the dam”.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said that “the issue of water and the Nile River for Egypt rises to the level of (the existential issue) that relates to the life and survival of this people”.
Madbouly added, during his speech at a high-level meeting held at the UN General Assembly on water, “Continuing the process of filling the (Renaissance Dam) without the three countries reaching an agreement violates all international obligations and rules.”
He noted that the filling also threatens to inflict serious damage on the interests of Egypt and Sudan. He pointed out that the current situation regarding the huge Ethiopian dam requires Egypt to return to serious and effective negotiations under African auspices and with active participation from the international community.
In the same context, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Ethiopia’s attempts to impose a fait accompli on the two downstream countries, and warned of such unilateral measures on security and stability in the region.
It also noted that it is regrettable Ethiopian officials use the language of sovereignty in their talks about the exploitation of the resources of a river that flows through more than one country.