The next chapter in the long-standing discussions over the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) is set to unfold in Cairo, Egypt next month. Egypt, alongside Ethiopia and Sudan, has committed to continuing the trilateral negotiations, aiming to resolve the intricate issues surrounding the dam.
In a recently concluded round hosted by Ethiopia from September 23-24, 2023, there was a palpable air of optimism. Both parties seemed eager to bridge the gap on lingering concerns. This commitment to dialogue was propelled by the directives from top leadership, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs vouched for the nation's genuine engagement in these discussions, emphasizing the advances made in recognizing mutual areas of agreement.
However, Egypt has raised eyebrows by advocating a stance that seemingly challenges the 2015 Agreement on the Declaration of Principles (DoP). The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry expressed its concerns over Egypt's sustained reliance on historical treaties that Ethiopia views as exclusionary. Central to this contention is Egypt's assertion of its "water quota" from the Nile, which Ethiopia perceives as a potential hindrance to meaningful dialogue.
For Ethiopia, the ongoing discussions aim to lay down clear guidelines on the initial filling and yearly operations of the GERD. Their intent is to both safeguard Ethiopia's rights and be considerate of the apprehensions of nations downstream.
Despite the underlying challenges, Ethiopia remains steadfast. "Our main objective in these trilateral discussions is to champion the interests of both current and future generations of Ethiopians regarding Nile River utilization," affirmed the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry.
The anticipation now turns to the Cairo talks next month, where all eyes will be on Egypt, hoping for a mutually beneficial outcome.