The Blue Nile of Ethiopia, the second tributary of the main God created river gently flowing from the Garden of Eden is mentioned in the Bible on Genesis chapter 2 verses 13 as follow: “The name of the second river Ghion, it is the one which goes around the whole land of Ethiopia.”
According to experts, the Blue Nile and its tributaries which constitute 85 per- cent of the water resources of the Nile also hold 50 percent of the river water resources of the entire country.
The idea of building a dam on the Nile River is not entirely new. A statement from Emperor Lalibela speaking of using the Nile River for development was mentioned in the history of this country.
A number of technical studies conducted by American experts in 1964 identified the possibility of constructing a dam on the border area between Ethiopia and Sudan. Although the late emperor of Ethiopia had talked about the possibility of building a dam on the river, the real idea of constructing a dam on the Blue Nile was initiated by the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia as part of expanding the renewable energy resources of the country in the context of Ethiopia’s national Climate Resilient Green Economy Policy.
Ethiopia has dedicated itself and has initiated the negotiations on the equitable use of the waters of the Nile through trilateral negotiations with Sudan and Egypt throughout the past five years, Egypt has been busy trying to externalize the negotiations by inviting third parties that have never come through the negotiation process over the previous years.
Ethiopia accepted the role of the U.S. and the WB in good faith as observers to the negotiations and not to directly involve in dictating the technical processes involving the GERD. Now according to a statement issued by the U.S. Treasury Department the filling of GERD “should not take place without an agreement,” as if the three countries have not agreed on several subsidiary issues.
Yes, over the previous years, Ethiopia’s quest to find financial resources for the construction of her dam were always blocked by Egypt’s diplomatic maneuvers but fortunately Ethiopians defeated the sabotage in the same spirit of their victory over the Battle of Adwa.
A couple of days back Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Secretary-General of the Council of Arab League said the League rejects any unilateral decision by Ethiopia that would affect Egypt’s share of the water. This statement in my opinion seems to backwardly endorse both the 1929 and 1959 agreements to which Ethiopia has never been a party.
The statement added the League “stresses the need for Ethiopia to adhere to the principles of international law, and welcomes the agreement to fill the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam prepared by the American administration and affirms that the draft agreement proposed by the United States and the World Bank is fair and serves the interests of the three countries.” The point is there a joint agreement to accept any draft document prepared by the two observers. Does this tally with the original role of the two? This needs to be answered.
This resolution violates Ethiopia’s legal right under international law regarding Trans Boundary Rivers and The Arab League has no mandate to pass it trying to favor Egypt at the expense of Ethiopia. For Ethiopia, GERD is not about politicking or a play on words, it’s all about poverty reduction with full understanding of Egyptian concerns.
On March 6, 2020 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia issued a statement which noted that the “Resolution” of the Executive Council of the Arab League was categorically unacceptable. Ethiopia rejects the “Resolution” in its entirety. This “Resolution” gives blind support to a member state without taking into consideration key facts at the center of the GERD talks, the statement added.
The statement commended the stance taken by the Government of the Republic of the Sudan for refusing to endorse the “Resolution” of the Arab League.
For all Ethiopia’s the issue of their flagship project is another attempt to demonstrate Pan-Africanism in the context of connecting Africa with a renewable energy gird in consonance with Agenda 2063.
The Ethiopian media, now and here is expected to pay a special attention to the promotion and marketing of GERD in all local and international languages while concerned ministries and civic organizations need to devise special strategies for public mobilization to accelerate the pace of completing and ultimate filling of the dam without any harm to the lower riparian countries. The media in this country is alarmingly being outpaced by Egyptian private and public media banging tirelessly on their Chinese’s gong.
The Ethiopian Herald March 11/2020
BY SOLOMON DIBABA