BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN
ADDIS ABABA – The reaffirmation of Ethiopia’s commitment to Africa Union (AU) mediation during the latest Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks and its ongoing campaign to garner international supports have been proved effective, said Osama Gaweesh, Editor-in-Chief of Egypt Watch.
In an opinion piece published at Middle East Monitor, Osama Gaweesh recently said Ethiopia’s position and its efforts in gathering the largest number of domestic and foreign allies who believe in its narrative have been successful in many ways.
“ El-Sisi and his regime, meanwhile, have been carrying out ineffective campaigns on social media, publishing videos that support the Egyptian narrative, which was weakened considerably when El-Sisi signed the 2015 Declaration of Principles,” Gaweesh added.
According to him, the main concern of the Egyptian negotiating team during the latest Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) talks was to seal a new dam operation agreement with Ethiopia rather than stopping the latter from undertaking the second-round filling.
It is to be recalled that Ethiopia previously rejected Egyptian proposal to jointly operate the dam was as a violation of its sovereignty.
Gaweesh said once he was invited by the Ethiopian Embassy in London to attend a special seminar in which the foreign minister and two members of the team negotiating with Egypt and Sudan spoke about Addis Ababa’s view of the Renaissance Dam dispute.
“I was surprised to see that the invitation was extended to nearly two hundred people around the world who can be described as influential in different fields and specializations. For two hours, the Ethiopians communicated their views to journalists, politicians, researchers, water experts, former diplomats, and ambassadors” he said.
According to him, what really shocking was not Ethiopia’s defense of its position, but the surprising Egyptian position that they talked about. According to the Ethiopian narrative, the Sisi regime did not object to the second filling of the reservoir and did not express any concerns about the impact on Egypt’s share of water from the River Nile or on the agricultural sector in Egypt.
The main concern of the Egyptian negotiating team was, they insisted, to sign a new agreement with Ethiopia regarding the operation of the dam, which was rejected by Ethiopia as a violation of its sovereignty, Gaweesh explained.
Recently, the president said that all options are possible if a drop of Egypt’s share of Nile water is compromised. Negotiations with Sudan over the dam are ongoing, adding: “We respect the development plans in Ethiopia, but without causing harm to Egypt.”
He stressed that Egypt’s position on the GERD project was honorable and respected the Ethiopian people’s desire to achieve development.
The Egyptian president asserted: “I said in Egypt that we value development, provided that it does not affect the interests of Egypt. I did not change my position. I did not withdraw what I said before. My position is still the same, and I said this before parliament in Ethiopia. I did not change my stance about respecting development plans in Ethiopia to improve the conditions of the people, but it should not harm the interests of Egypt. I think my words are clear.”
The Ethiopian Herald April 24/2021