Yesterday, Saturday, Egypt informed the African Union of its commitment to formulating a legally binding agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
This came in a statement by the Egyptian Presidency during a call that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received from his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Union.
The statement indicated that the contact discussed discussions and exchanged views on the developments of the Renaissance Dam issue, within the framework of the tripartite negotiations under the auspices of the African Union headed by South Africa.
In turn, Al-Sisi reiterated – during the call – his adherence to “the foundations of Egypt’s position on the inevitability of crystallizing a binding legal agreement that includes the three countries (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia).”
He explained that his country wants “an agreement that preserves Egypt’s water rights by defining the rules for filling and operating the dam, against the background of what the Nile waters represent as an existential issue for Egypt and its people.”
According to the statement, Ramaphosa expressed his “appreciation for Egypt’s efforts within the framework of the negotiation track aimed at reaching a solution to the issue.”
He stressed the continuation of intensive coordination between the two countries during the coming period to work towards reaching a fair and balanced agreement on this vital issue.
In mid-December, Sudanese Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Yasser Abbas, said that his country adheres to changing the methodology of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations, by giving a greater role to the African Union experts, suggesting not to participate if the previous approach from Addis Ababa continues.
Negotiations between the three countries stalled over a period of 9 years, amid mutual accusations between Cairo and Addis Ababa of intransigence and imposing unrealistic solutions.
Addis Ababa insists on filling the dam even if it does not reach an agreement with Cairo and Khartoum, while the latter two insist on the need to reach a tripartite agreement regarding the dam on the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the Nile River.
Cairo is concerned about the potential negative impact of the dam on the flow of its annual share of the Nile water, which amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters, while Sudan gets 18.5 billion.
Addis Ababa says it does not aim to harm anyone, and that the purpose of building the dam is primarily to generate electricity.
On October 24, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stressed that “there is no force” that could prevent his country from achieving the goals it had planned for the Renaissance Dam, following a warning from US President Donald Trump that Egypt might bomb the dam.