The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is causing a crisis between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan. The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is currently seeking an agreement on the second filling of the Renaissance Dam reservoir without addressing the other issues. “Egypt and Sudan are trying to internationalize the question of the Renaissance Dam,” said the ministry’s spokesperson, Ambassador Dina Mufti.
Mufti called for a comprehensive and binding agreement on the mechanisms for filling and operating the dam before starting the second filling scheduled for next July and August. She considers “the Renaissance Dam is a bank for the supplies of the two downstream countries, especially in the period of drought.”
The ambassador reassured the dam’s benefits are for all, thus needing an agreement on the filling and operation by the African Union. On the other hand, the Egyptians proposed that the dam’s reservoir be filled with water in 6-7 years during the moderate inflow of the floods. However, in the periods of drought and prolonged droughts, Egypt calls for setting specific mechanisms to deal with the filling.
Ethiopia hopes that a non-binding paper can be signed when Egypt and Sudan are attempting to reach an agreement and protect the interests of the three countries. It also hopes that the two downstream countries give up their water rights and recognize Ethiopia’s unconditional right to use the waters of the Blue Nile unilaterally, filling and operating the Renaissance Dam according to its sole vision.
The mechanism of dam operation during and after filling the reservoir is the second point of disagreement. The third is about connecting the Renaissance dam to all other Nile dams, especially the High Dam, so Egypt and Sudan are not harmed during the filling time. Both countries believe that Ethiopia is working to buy time with the negotiations to impose a fait accompli.