Ethiopia furious over the League of Arab States Resolution on Renaissance Dam

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Guba, Ethiopia, shortly after Ethiopia began generating electricity from its mega-dam on the Blue Nile. AMANUEL SILESHI/AFP via Getty Images

Addis Ababa is expressing dissatisfaction over the recent resolution adopted by the Summit of the League of Arab States which seems to support Egypt’s stand against the Abyssinian Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

A statement from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted that Arabian League’s resolution was an affront to the African Union and AU Member States that are currently working to bring an amicable negotiated resolution to the GERD matter.

“It also runs contrary to the cherished and shared history of the peoples of Africa and the Arab world,” reads part of the statement.

“In 2015, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan signed the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles, which unambiguously provides that the construction of the Dam shall continue in parallel to the negotiations on the guidelines and rules on the first filling and operation of the Dam.”

“The details of dam filling, including the volume and duration, have been agreed upon between the experts of the three countries and throughout the process, going out of its way, Ethiopia has catered to the concerns of Egypt and Sudan.”

According to the release, Ethiopia continues to act respecting the principle of equitable and reasonable utilization of the waters of the Nile.

“Thus, the allegation that Ethiopia has taken unilateral measures is a deliberate mischaracterization.”

Addis Ababa is blaming Egypt for the new development.

The foreign ministry claims that it was Cairo’s attempts to exert pressure on Ethiopia by using the Arab League forum.

And as far as Addis Ababa is concerned, that represents its lack of good faith and violation of the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles which was concluded between the country and Sudan.

Ethiopia insists to be working closely with Sudan on all bilateral matters, including that of the GERD.

Addis however lauded some Members of the League of Arab States that cautioned Egypt against escalating the matter, hoping that members of the League, particularly the Member States of the African Union, will disassociate themselves from the resolution.

Ethiopia believes that the resolution will damage the longstanding African-Arab friendship and historic relations.

While at that, Ethiopia advised Egypt to abandon what it described as unlawful monopoly of the Nile River, citing defunct colonial agreements and a colonial-mentality-based position.

“Egypt should negotiate in good faith for the benefit of all parties,” the statement maintained, adding that the future of the Nile Basin countries should be taken into consideration.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or GERD, has been steep into a series of controversies.

GERD, a mega USD 4 Billion Project whose construction started in 2011 is in its very final stages now.

Ethiopia anticipates that the dam will generate up to 6,500 megawatts of electricity, doubling the annual national electricity output. 

But Egypt and Sudan, the two downstream countries have been relaying worries that the dam may reduce water flow in the river Nile, leading to water scarcity.

But as Sudan started suffering from floods caused by the river overflow, the country started supporting the GERD project, knowing it may help to regulate the water and thus solve flooding problems.