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Monday, 27 November 2017

Ethiopia and Sudan posturing over GERD continues

Ethiopia plans to continue development on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) despite talks over the dam’s impact studies breaking down, Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister and Electricity Minister Sileshi Bekele said on Saturday, according to a report by the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) picked up by Al Bawaba. “On our part, we are constructing the dam according to the schedule, the quality and the standard that the dam of this size requires,” he said, adding that “the dam is 63% completed and it is being constructed around-the-clock”. The statements follow more conciliatory promises of cooperation made by Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister. The latest tiff over the dam follows a breakdown of talks after Ethiopia and Sudan rejected the results of the independent impact study of the dam.

Sudan’s Irrigation Minister blames Egypt for the breakdown of talks: Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Moataz Moussa said that Egypt had rejected Sudan’s proposals to resume talks on the impact studies on the GERD. The proposals include setting the 1959 water rights treaty between Egypt and Sudan, which grants the latter an annual allocation of 18.5 bcf of Nile water, as the baseline for the recommended water allocation in the study and barring any recommendations which dilutes those quantities. The proposals also include allowing Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt to hold an inquiry and question the independent consultant on any aspect of the report, Moussa said at a gathering of regional ambassadors in Sudan, according to Sputnik Arabic. Ethiopia had accepted in principles the proposals, but Egypt had apparently refused. Moussa also blamed the Egyptian media for inflaming the situation further, calling out state outlets for not correcting “misconceptions” on the talks so far. Apparently, it is totally unreasonable for the press to be incensed at Sudan and Ethiopia for backing out of an agreed protocol and a report by a mutually agreed independent consultant. We guess Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour’s accusations that Egypt has been eating into Sudan’s share since 1959 shouldn’t be taken as inflammatory.

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