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Monday, 08 January 2018

Egypt Proposes to Exclude Sudan from Dam Talks

Addis Ababa (Agencies) –The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which was launched with a solid national spirit of Ethiopians

, is now 63 percent complete.
The construction of the dam is progressing well and Ethiopians are waiting for to hear news bout the commissioning of two of the 16 Francis turbines of the dam.
However, Egyptian politicians have recently come up with strange and new proposal, demanding the World Bank to intervene in the negotiation process.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, tabled the new proposal this week while holding a non-binding discussion on the dam with his Ethiopian counterpart, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, here in Addis Ababa.
But scholars are questioning the purpose of this new Cairo proposal.
Gedion Asfaw, Chair of the Tripartite National Committee of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, says “this is not Egypt’s first time to table this type of unexpected proposal.”
Previously, it suggested the findings of the study by the consultants to be binding. However, taking into account that the results of the study could not affect the three countries, it was rejected, he said.
Berhanu Balachew, an instructor and head of geography department at Kotebe Metropolitan University, said Egyptian politicians have been trying to extend the negotiation process by presenting unacceptable proposals.
Berhanu added that Egypt’s new plan could be emanated from its interest to use either its experts employed at the bank or to ruin Ethiopia’s image when Ethiopia rejects the intervention of the bank in the negotiation.
Meressa Tsehaye, member of political science and strategic study department at Mekelle University, questioned the neutrality of the World Bank to intervene in the negotiation.
“The bank has never been neutral as it votes for countries which contributed for it,” he said. Egypt’s plan is intended to exclude Sudan from the ongoing diplomatic efforts and separate it from Ethiopia.
An instructor at the Addis Ababa University law and administration department and member of America’s Harvard University study department, Abay Yimer, said Egypt’s new proposal is not linked with fear that the dam could bring significant harm on it, but because of the threat of Sudan's future use of the water.
According to him, the dam would enable Sudan to use more water and develop its vast irrigable land. In the other hand, Egypt fears that this will significantly reduce the amount of water flowing to it.
Though it is clear that the dam would not bring significant harm on Egypt, its politicians have been using the issue for their political benefits by labeling Ethiopia as a threat for the people of Egypt and their country, which is irrelevant, they said.