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Misplaced Opposition to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD): Update

Minga Negash, Seid Hassan, Mammo Muchie, Abu Girma, Aklog Birara and Getachew Begashaw
In our April 30 2014 commentary http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article50822 which appeared on several media outlets, we outlined the fallacies of the Egyptian policy towards GERD.  It appears that the last few months have witnessed breath-taking diplomatic developments. For one, Egypt has returned to the African Union. It also has been reported that there were several rounds of side and formal meetings between Ministers and the Heads of States and Governments of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. Egypt has also shown a renewed interest on Africa.  A number of African leaders attended the recently held economic summit in Egypt which unveiled a new project that aims to build a new city near Cairo. Parallel to these on March 23, 2015 Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a deal that “ends the Nile dispute.”
In its March 23, 2015 edition Ahramonline published the English translation of the deal.   http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/125941/Egypt/Politics-/Full-text-of-Declaration-of-Principles-signed-by-E.aspx.  If the document is authentic and translation is accurate, we observe that (i) the document contains several complex statements that are hard to translate into practice, and (ii) many of the clauses favor Egypt much more than Ethiopia. In fact, it is not clear what Ethiopia is getting out of this agreement other than allaying Egypt’s official opposition to the dam. Indeed, Egypt appears to have succeeded in forcing Ethiopia to perform near impossible tasks as any perceived negligence or underperformance can serve as a ground for declaration of dispute. No free nation should be submitted into such a contract voluntarily.
Furthermore, a day after the signing of the “deal”, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt is travelling to Addis Ababa reportedly to address the joint session of the Ethiopian Parliament. Evidently, his mission cannot be anything less than selling the “deal” in Ethiopia. In short, the event appears to be a prelude for the ratification of a document that favors Egypt more than Ethiopia.
While welcoming the tripartite cooperation, we request that the “declaration” be translated into Ethiopian languages. We also ask that an open debate be held in all three countries and the riparian states before the matter is presented to the Ethiopian Parliament. In order to do so, the document should remain an MOU, be revised to address the concerns of citizens and be ratified and take the form of treaty agreement only after proper deliberations are made. Furthermore, as Ethiopia is on the eve of an election, ratification should be deferred until the new parliament is constituted.
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3 Comments

  1. I believe this might be an act one of those betrayals of Ethiopian interest by the current regime. The agreement to give in to Egypt might have been concluded long time before the late PM died, with TPLF getting something out of the deal and Ethiopia loosing big time. This kind of gimmicks- a gradual release of information and a game with words (Declaration of Principles) are designed to prepare the Ethiopian people for accepting what comes to be full sale out by TPLF Ethiopia interest on Nile. Just remember the Algers agreement on Badme and this will go through the same scenario. TPLF will never be trusted with Ethiopian interest. Ethiopia has been open for sale for a while now and TPLF will never listen to your appeal for changing this MOU. There is an inherent problem with it and it is the LF in TPLF.
    Please read this must-read on the matter on ETO where the authors pose the right questions, and the most important of it is in the following text.
    “In paragraph 5 (b), there is a word referring to GERD having “owners”. How many “owners” does it have? What is the agreed language during the negotiations on this? Clarification is in order here, if the idea relates especially to future involvement of Egypt in the operation of GERD and its management.”

  2. I believe this might be an act one of those betrayals of Ethiopian interest by the current regime. The agreement to give in to Egypt might have been concluded long time before the late PM died, with TPLF getting something out of the deal and Ethiopia loosing big time. This kind of gimmicks- a gradual release of information and a game with words (Declaration of Principles) are designed to prepare the Ethiopian people for accepting what comes to be full sale out by TPLF Ethiopia’s interest on Nile. Just remember the Algiers agreement on Badame and this will go through the same scenario. TPLF will never be trusted with Ethiopian interest. Ethiopia has been open for sale for a while now and TPLF will never listen to your appeal for changing this MOU. There is an inherent problem with it and it is the LF in TPLF.
    Please read this must-read article on the matter on ETO(http: //ethiopiaobservatory .com/2015/03/24/full-text-of-the-declaration-of-principles-between-ethiopia-egypt-and -sudan-have-signed/) where the author pose the right questions, and the most important of it is in the following text.
    “In paragraph 5 (b), there is a word referring to GERD having “owners”. How many “owners” does it have? What is the agreed language during the negotiations on this? Clarification is in order here, if the idea relates especially to future involvement of Egypt in the operation of GERD and its management.”

  3. I find the agreement somewhat plausible and the best that can be done to ease tensions among the three nations. The regime in Cairo knows very well that it can not afford to make 90 millions souls back home too angry. They have the sheer physical capabilities of changing the course of the Blue Nile just with bare hands. That river may refuse to flow West and North. It may turn East, Southeast. It looks that Assisi knows that very well. In any case, I wholeheartedly support any effort to harness nature such as rivers, wind, sun and hot geysers. This particular dam is said to have the capability of generating about 6,000MW of electricity. And that is quite a lot by today’s capability standard of that country. I am equally against shutting or significantly disrupting the flow of the river because whether we like it or not tens of millions of people depend on it to survive. And that has been the case since the dawn of history.

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