Egypt’s request on the tripartite discussion
Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt have been discussing about the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on downstream countries. Ethiopia from the beginning elaborated that the Dam never inflict any harm on the Sudan and Egypt rather it could play a significant role in integrating the three countries and beyond economically.
The tripartite, which sometime flare array of and other times take a gloomy face, has now terminated due to the need from Egypt to incorporate the 1959 treaty made between the two downstream countries: the Sudan and Egypt under the auspice of the British colonial rule.
Egypt brought such argument at a time where it could comprehend that the construction of GERD inflicts no harm to it. That country’s questions from the very beginning mainly focused on whether the construction significantly reduces the water flow to downstream countries and whether the construction meets its international standards or not. However, Egypt recognizes that these two concerns will never happen.
In fact, the Sudan is with Ethiopia from the very beginning. It recognized the benefits downstream countries would enjoy if the Dam is completed. But Egypt remained with its concerns since the launch of the construction despite the approvals by the International Panel of Experts and other scholars working in the field.
Now, Egypt prefer to shift its negotiating agenda that could help it to maintain its water monopoly. It needs to incorporate the colonial agreement to the current tripartite negotiation. However, the issue of water share has nothing with the construction of the Dam.
As mentioned so many times, this construction never reduces the amount of water flow to downstream countries. It is unfair to discuss water share only among three countries while the water belongs to ten countries along the basin. That is why Ethiopia refused to include that agreement in the issue of the Grand Dam which has a regional contribution to economic integration.
It will be a misleading activity if the three countries agreed to include the 1959 colonial agreement which gave Egypt monopoly of the water at this time. This is the case that could not been discussed only by the three countries. If Egypt wants to talk about water share, it should come to the New Frame agreement of the Nile Basin countries. But Egypt hasn’t yet signed that agreement.
As for the construction of GERD is concerned, Ethiopia has repeatedly made vivid that it won’t make any change from its very stance. The stand of the country remained so constant since the beginning construction.
Ethiopia has made vivid that the Dam has an immense benefit to downstream countries despite the frustrations Egypt has been raising so many times that it has insignificant impact on downstream countries.
The major objective in building this Dam is to facilitate poverty alleviation schemes as the country already defined poverty as its arch foe. That is why it has been working day in day out and attempting to utilize all of its resources for this very agenda.
It has been working industriously to alleviate poverty through implementing the long term economic development strategy. GERD is the one of the mega projects launched to develop its economy.
Ethiopians march being one and the same to harness their natural resource in alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainable socio-economic development. Despite its more than 85 per cent water contribution to the Nile River, Ethiopia’s effort to use the Nile River had suspended for many years. The downstream country Egypt has been utilizing the water for various developments.
It is repeatedly reported that the dam will contribute to alleviate poverty along with fulfilling the power need of the country. Besides, it has planned to sell power to neighboring countries mainly to downstream countries: the Sudan and Egypt.
The construction of the dam has now progressing. It will certainly benefit riparian countries. Moreover, it will play a significant role in enhancing the economic integration of countries along the Nile Basin apart from its contribution to minimize water evaporation, minimize flood and maintain constant amount of water that flows to downstream countries.
The downstream countries have to recognize this fact. However, Egypt was arguing that the construction of the Dam would harm its water flow.
Besides, it has a concern on the international standard of the Dam. However, these were already disproved by different scholars and the panel of experts. Now, Egypt has come with irrelevant issue in the tripartite discussion.
It requested the inclusion of the colonial treaty made between the Sudan and Egypt, which gave the monopoly of water share to Egypt no share to upstream countries where the Nile water is originated.
That is an irrelevant issue with the task of the tripartite discussion. The discussion aimed to investigate if there is any harm on the downstream countries due to the construction of the Dam not to determine the share of the water and endorse the colonial treaty. That treaty could never be an agenda for the tripartite discussion but Egypt brought it and caused to the termination of the discussion. But this is not the right approach. Egypt should turn to its sense and avoid such unthinkable issues and rather should coordinate with the Nile Basin countries for a win-win solution.