Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assured Egypt and neighbouring Nile nations that the country’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will bring benefits rather than harm – stressing that Ethiopia does not intend to jeopardize the water security of downstream countries.
Ahmed’s statement, published on his social media account on 15 July, comes a few days after being warmly welcomed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to the Sudan Neighbouring Countries Summit.
“Our development needs in both the upstream and downstream countries are increasing due to population growth,” declared Ahmed in the statement. “This calls for Egypt and Ethiopia to work together to achieve sustainable development and establish a genuine partnership that fulfils the aspirations of our people for sustainable development and a decent life.”
The Ethiopian prime minister also commended Al-Sisi’s leadership in developing Egypt and his efforts to bolster bilateral cooperation. Al-Sisi’s diplomatic efforts were made clear through Ahmed’s invitation to Cairo last week – Ahmed’s first visit to Cairo since June 2018.
Ahmed’s participation in the Sudan Summit concluded with a joint declaration between Egypt and Ethiopia to resume discussions over the GERD dispute and find a final solution within the next four months.
The controversial dam, which has been subject to contentious debates and diplomatic discord over its impact on downstream countries, rescheduled GERD’s fourth phase of filling to early September.
The decision to delay, announced by Ahmed to the Ethiopian Parliament on 6 July, was to ensure no harm was caused to downstream neighbours.
Despite the extension and thawing diplomacy, Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of the dam goes against Egypt and Sudan’s objections – violating the Declaration of Principles signed by the three states in 2015.
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