ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen has said that the second-year filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be conducted as scheduled and agreed by the National Scientific Research Group (NISRG) of the three countries.
Demeke made the remarks while delivering a keynote speech at a webinar meeting entitled, “The equitable use of the Nile: The role of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam for regional cooperation,” that was attended by more than 190 participants.
According to Mr. Demeke, Ethiopia has confidence in the role of the African Union in facilitating the negotiations and bringing the process to a successful conclusion. He also reaffirmed Ethiopia’s conviction on the principle of finding African solutions to African problems.
“Egypt and Sudan are attempting to exert unnecessary pressure on Ethiopia through different means including the internationalization and politicization of technical issues which will only undermine trust among the three countries,” he said.
The webinar was organized by Ethiopian Embassies accredited to neighbouring countries and the Great Lakes region jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
Present at the meeting and delivering his remarks, Honourable Deng Dau Deng, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan said the GERD is a peace project that will benefit all in the region.
Mr Deng Dau Deng shared that the South Sudan parliament will soon ratify the Nile basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which outlines rights and obligations for the development of the Nile Basin water resources.
He further expressed his hope that the tripartite negotiation will be concluded with a mutually beneficial agreement adding that the riparian countries should have been part of the consultation since the river basin is a shared resource.
Members of the GERD negotiating team, Eng. Gedion Asfaw, Mr. Zerihun Abebe, and Dr. Yohannes Gebretsadik, and Dr. Emmanuel Kasimbazie, a Professor of Law at Makerere University have tabled presentations on the renaissance dam from technical and legal perspectives.
Ethiopian Ambassadors in Egypt, H.E. Markos Tekle (Ph.D.), and in Uganda, Ambassador Alemtsehay Meseret co-chaired the webinar which was organized by Ethiopian embassies accredited to neighbouring countries and the Great Lakes region jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
On Tuesday this week, Mr Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister said that moves by Ethiopia to resume filling its vast dam on the Nile in the coming months would not adversely affect water supplies to Egyptians.
Mr Shoukry who was speaking late Tuesday from Paris, where he was accompanying President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for an international summit on Sudan affirmed that (Egyptians) can rest assured that they have enough water supplies in the Aswan Dam reservoir.
“We are confident the second filling of the dam by Ethiopia won’t affect Egyptian water interests adversely. We can deal with it through strict management of our water resources,” Sameh Shoukry said in an interview with an Egyptian talk show host.