Gen. Osama El-Gendy, Head of the Defense and National Security Committee in the Egyptian Senate, said that both Cairo and Khartoum see the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD ) poses a danger to their quota of water the Nile River.
He explained that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that negotiating with Ethiopia over GERD, which is being built by Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile should not continue indefinitely.
He added that the Egyptian state understands the requirements of Ethiopian development, but that development should not be at the expense of others.
El-Gendy pointed out that in September 2011, the Egyptian and Ethiopian authorities agreed to form an international committee to study the effects of building GERD.
“In May 2012 the committee began its work by examining Ethiopian engineering studies, and the extent of the potential impact of the dam on Egypt and Sudan,” he said.
He affirmed that the expert committee then issued its report on the necessity of conducting studies evaluating the effects of the dam on the two downstream countries. Negotiations were halted after Egypt refused to form a technical committee without foreign experts.
El-Gendy continued to say that in June 2014, the authorities in Egypt and Ethiopia agreed to resume negotiations again. The first meeting of a tripartite committee comprised of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan was held, to discuss the formulation of terms of reference for the technical committee and its procedural rules.
The three countries agreed on the periodicity of holding meetings, after which Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan consented to choose two consulting offices, one Dutch and the other French, to conduct the required studies on the dam.
Gen. El-Gendy explained that in March 2015, Sisi, his Sudanese then-counterpart Omar al-Bashir, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Desalegn signed in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the document “Declaration of Principles for GERD.
The document included 10 basic principles, consistent with the general rules in the principles of international law governing dealing with International Rivers.
El-Gendy continued to say that the GERD issue has entered its tenth year in a row, and recently it reappeared again after Cairo submitted a fair technical proposal that takes into account Ethiopia’s interests and its needs for electricity from the dam, without harming Egyptian water interests, and its quota of water, estimated at 55 billion cubic meters annually, according to the agreements signed between Egypt and Ethiopia.
All treaties stipulate the preservation of the water resources of the downstream countries, and the pledge not to harm the water interests by constructing GERD projects that impede the flow of water to those countries without referring to the leaders of the three countries and agreeing among themselves.
El-Gendy noted that in light of the failure of the negotiations between the three countries to reach the desired results after more than four years of direct negotiations since the signing of the Declaration of Principles Agreement in 2015.
The Chairman of the Senate Defense and National Security Committee stated that the situation needed to find an effective international role to overcome the current situation, bring the views of the three countries closer, and reach a fair and balanced agreement based on respect for the principles of international law regulating the management and use of international rivers.
These principles allow countries to benefit from their water resource without prejudice to the interests and rights of other parties.