Blue Nile Dam Agreement
Ultimately, the 11 riparian countries must understand that the way forward requires a sound agreement on resource sharing, which considers and recognizes the Nile as a regional water course. This project will only be successful under a legally binding regime guaranteeing mutually beneficial rights. Egypt has strongly supported efforts by Ethiopia and other nations to increase prosperity, including through various projects in the Nile basin, he said. Although Cairo has launched and conducted painstaking negotiations on the dam to reach a fair and equitable agreement, these efforts “have not been successful,” he said. Indeed, during the negotiations, Egypt faced an unjustified campaign of unfounded claims that Cairo had tried to link the parties to agreements of the “dark era of colonialism,” he said, Pointing out that any treaty on the Nile concluded with Ethiopia was signed by his government and as an independent state, including a treaty in 1902 involving the Emperor of Abyssinian that prohibits the construction of water works on the Nile that would affect the natural flow of The river. The U.S. move came after the three countries failed on Friday to reach an agreement on the management of the dam after 10 days of negotiations. The Council`s participation risks hardening positions and making compromises even more difficult, he said, suggesting that members leave the issue to the African Union and encourage the three countries to return to the negotiations. He also expressed the hope that the Council would be cautious in order not to intensify disputes and undermine the African Union-led process. The Council should respond to Ethiopia`s invitation not to politicize the issue and to internationalize it. Indeed, I hope that members will choose to be on the right side of history, he said, noting that in many ways the case is deeply rooted in a colonial heritage. The countries of the Nile basin have one of the oldest relations in human history, he said, stressing that the dam project offers a unique opportunity for cross-border cooperation between the brotherly countries and should never be subject to competition or mistrust.
In this sense, Ethiopia will seek an amicable solution through win-win negotiations, while seeking to understand Egypt and Sudan, he said, adding: “We are confident that we will reach a cooperation agreement in the coming weeks as part of the African Union-led process.” Discussions have cast doubt on the amount of water that will release Ethiopia downstream from the dam in the event of a multi-year drought and how Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resolve future disputes. Recognising the need for cooperation to take full advantage of the benefits of the dam and mitigate the potential negative effects on downstream countries, she commended the three nations for initiatives such as the establishment in 2012 of the International Panel of Experts for the Review of Design and Construction Plans, a successor tripartite national committee in 2014 and the 2015 Declaration of Principles.