Water flows through Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo
By Mohamed Nabil Helmy
Ahead of an anticipated round of talks on Renaissance Dam Monday, as revealed by Addis Ababa – Egyptian and Ethiopian officials released separate statements that showed “the continuing divergence between the two sides.”
While Egypt described the Ethiopian stance as ‘incooperative’, Ethiopia restated that it couldn’t sign a binding agreement on passing specific shares of waters from Renaissance Dam to the downstream countries.

Spokesperson for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dina Mufti said that the negotiation among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt will start on Monday, as reported by Ethiopian News Agency (ENA). He said Ethiopia was not willing to give up on its national interest for the sake of other parties under the US pressures.

Mufti added that the US severing ties with Ethiopia would impact the US, not Ethiopia.

Recent reports have said Egypt is trying to establish a military base in Somaliland. Commenting on this, Mufti said that Egypt establishing ties with any country doesn’t influence Ethiopia.

Ali Abdel-Aal, the speaker of the House of Representatives, told Al-Ahram daily newspaper that Ethiopia endorsed a negative approach that contradicts with goodwill. This approach lasted for around eight years that witnessed several rounds of talks.

He added that Egyptian understanding of the development needs of Ethiopians was met with intransigence and procrastination.

Abdel-Aal said that Egypt dealt diplomatically with the crisis and pushed towards negotiations.

Since 2011, there three countries have been negotiating to reach an agreement on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam – however, they failed to seal a deal.

Egypt and Sudan aspire to reach a comprehensive deal on the Renaissance Dam including its management but Ethiopia rejects this while Egypt considers that it has a ‘historic right’ in the river by virtue of deals signed in 1929 and 1959. Yet, Ethiopia relies on a signed agreement in 2010 that approves implementing irrigation and dams’ projects at the river. Egypt and Sudan refused this agreement.