Ethiopia willing to respect GERD conventions: Ethiopian Foreign Minister

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tawadros Adhanom (AFP Photo)

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tawadros Adhanom
(AFP Photo)

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tawadros Adhanom expressed Tuesday his country’s commitment to overcoming points of contention over the joint cooperation with Egypt and Sudan regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Adhanom stressed that the construction of the dam does not harm the interests of the upstream states, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

Adhanom said Ethiopia is keen on completing all conventions and recommendations to reach common benefit for all.

“The Renaissance Dam will be a symbol of the fruitful cooperation between the three countries,” Adhanom said during the opening of the ministerial meeting in Khartoum. The meeting included Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Water Resources from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, and came as a continuation of the meeting in Addis Ababa, held early February.

On 5 March, technical meetings resume between the ministers of water resources of the three countries.

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Ethiopia began constructing the dam in 2011, and since then Egypt and Ethiopia have been locked in contention, which reached a peak in 2013.

Egypt, which utilises more Nile water than any other country, fears the dam will have a detrimental effect on its share of Nile water.

It rejects the current high storage capacity of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at 74bn cubic metres, as studies showed it will affect its national water security.

As per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, Egypt annually receives 55.5bn cubic metres of the estimated total 84bn cubic metres of Nile water produced each year, whilst Sudan receives 18.5bn cubic metres.

In attempts to ease the tension, Ethiopian Patriarch Mathias visited Egypt in January.

The patriarch said there are social, economic, and religious problems, and that “the two churches with their long-standing relationships can solve these problems that confront us”.

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Pope Tawadros II stressed the historical relations between the two churches.

The church of Ethiopia was part of the Church of Alexandria until they split in 1959, when an agreement was reached between the Ethiopian Holy Synod and the Alexandrine.

Following President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s visit to the African Union summit in late January, a committee was formed between Ethiopia and Egypt’s foreign ministries specifically for water issues.

The church of Ethiopia was part of the Church of Alexandria until they split in 1959, when an agreement was reached between the Ethiopian Holy Synod and the Alexandrine.

Following President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s visit to the African Union summit in late January, a committee was formed between Ethiopia and Egypt’s foreign ministries specifically for water issues.

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