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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Ethiopia is really just trolling us now

Taking a leaf out of our book, Ethiopia has turned to the United Nations Security Council to complain that Egypt and Sudan “are not negotiating in good faith” to resolve the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis, according to a statement from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry. In a letter penned to the Security Council, Addis Ababa claims that Egypt and Sudan are the ones stalling the negotiation process by refusing to “make the necessary concessions” to reach a mutually beneficial agreement between the three countries.

Egypt and Sudan’s proposal to bring in mediators to resolve the impasse is, in Ethiopia’s books, “internationalizing” the talks “to exert undue pressure” on Addis Ababa, the statement says. Ethiopia is still rattling on about Cairo and Khartoum wanting to “maintain an unjust status quo” by reaching a lawfully binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam — which is meant to ensure that one country doesn’t face fatal flooding and the other still has access to enough water.

Ethiopia’s tattling means the Security Council has now received letters from all three countries: Sudan sent a letter to the council just a few days ago asking the council to back its proposal to bring in international mediators, while Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry sent a letter last week to the council after the latest round of talks failed yet again to yield a breakthrough.

Meanwhile, Shoukry made stops in Kenya, Comoros, and South Africa yesterday as part of his Africa tour to brief the continent’s leaders on the latest developments in the GERD stalemate. The tour comes as Egypt has been on a diplomatic blitz of late to rally international support for its position on the dam.

And while we’re on the subject, a bit of fact checking on Ethiopia’s other GERD claims, courtesy of Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry: Ethiopia’s insistence on moving ahead with the second filling of the dam’s reservoir this summer will almost certainly result in lower levels of water flow to Sudan and Egypt, particularly since the spillways through which Ethiopia says it will release water won’t be able to handle the amount of water the downstream countries need, according to a statement. According to the ministry, these two spillways can only handle a combined 50 mn cbm of water.

The urgency of the situation certainly isn’t lost on the talking heads: Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi said it would be nothing short of a disaster if Ethiopia moves ahead with its plans, after Irrigation Ministry spokesperson Mohamed Ghanem recapped the realities of the spillways (watch, runtime: 6:46). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa, meanwhile, couldn’t contain his anger at Ethiopia and railed against its “attempts to control Egypt” by taking unilateral measures (watch, runtime: 4:03).

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