Ethiopia rejects Egypt’s proposal on Renaissance Dam

Ethiopia has refused to discuss the Egyptian proposal on the Renaissance Dam, which the Ethiopian authorities are building over the Nile, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

It was decided, according to the statement, to hold an urgent meeting of the independent scientific research group (from the three countries) in Khartoum from 30 September to 3 October. The conference will discuss the Egyptian proposal for filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam and recommendations from Ethiopia and Sudan. This will be followed immediately by a meeting of Water ministers from the three countries on 4 and 5 October to approve the terms of the agreement on filling and operating rules.”

The round of negotiations between the water ministers of the three countries began on Sunday morning and ended on Monday evening. Thus, the ministry’s statement indicated that the meeting of the ministers and technical committees “did not address the technical aspects and was limited to discussing procedural aspects.”

This is “because of Ethiopia’s refusal to discuss the proposal that Egypt has already offered to both countries.”

The Ethiopian News Agency quoting the Ethiopian minister of water and irrigation, Seleshi Bekele, saying that the study proposed by Egypt “requested seven years to fill the reservoir and other operational issues concerning the dam when it starts to generate power.”

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For years, Cairo has been seeking to resolve the dam crisis, which reconstruction work began in 2012 at the cost of $ 4 billion, through talks with Khartoum and Addis Ababa. However, no agreement has been reached so far.

Egypt relies entirely on Nile water for drinking and irrigation and says it has “historic rights” to the river under the 1929 and 1959 agreements. These agreements grant it the right to exploit 87 per cent of the Nile’s water and the right to approve irrigation projects for upstream countries.

Cairo fears the impact of the dam on the river, which provides Egypt with more than 95 percent of its water needs.

A statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said, Sunday, that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed Egypt’s unease over the prolonged negotiations to Kenyan Foreign Minister, Monica Goma.

In March 2015, the leaders of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia signed an agreement of principles requiring them to reach consensus through cooperation on the dam.

In June 2018, El-Sisi agreed with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to adopt a “shared vision” between the two countries on the Renaissance Dam that would allow them to prosper “without prejudice to the rights of the other.”

Ethiopia aims to secure, from the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, 6000 megawatts of hydroelectric power, which is equivalent to six nuclear power plants.