“The Renaissance Dam issue is an Ethiopian one and Egypt has nothing to do with it” Sudan
Despite Egypt’s fierce protest, the Ethiopian government will soon celebrate the third anniversary of the launching of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The first phase of power production is also expected to be commenced from GERD by the next year. Currently the project that already consumes over 27 billion birr is 33 percent completed. According to information from the Ethiopian government the Dam’s third year of commencement will be commemorated at the site in the presence of high government officials and will also be celebrated in different events that consist of art exhibitions and film festivals. The Egyptian government, which is accused by international experts of trying to politicize the Dam and not taking into account the actual effect on the North African country, started an overt campaign against the project that is being undertaken by Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian government disclosed that the country will generate 700MW of electric power by the end of the GTP from the project that will generate 6,000MW when it is fully completed.
While Egypt hopes to continue talking with the Abay/Nile downstream countries (Ethiopia and Sudan), it is working to lobby the international community about the countries affected by the construction of the Dam. The tripartite dialogue that has been held between the three countries in Khartoum, Sudan has been halted because Egypt came up with stiff negotiation points.
Experts said that most of the discussions that Egypt’s officials had were unfruitful compared with the result that Egypt is requesting, but Egypt argues that most of the diplomatic campaign has been effective.
The latest information from Sudan, the other downstream country indicated that the Sudanese main opposition party has taken a similar stand about the project as the Sudanese’s President Omar al-Bashir.
Sudan’s Popular Congress Party (PCP) lead by Hassan al-Turabi, who met with Sudan’s president last week, stated that the Renaissance Dam issue is an Ethiopian one and Egypt has nothing to do with it.
According to the deputy secretary general of the PCP Ali al-Hajj, both parties agreed during the meeting that the events in Egypt were a coup against the legitimacy of [deposed] President Mohammed Morsi and that the Renaissance Dam issue is an Ethiopian one and Egypt has nothing to do with it. Hajj explained that what the Egyptian government is saying about the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a political promotion and that the dam is not also a Sudanese issue, but rather an Ethiopian cause.
Sudan’s government has given its support for the project that is being constructed a few kilometers from its border. It is strongly stated that the project will make Sudan a beneficiary in terms of using power from the electric station and cut flooding that occurs in Sudan when the rainy season comes in Ethiopia. Recently, an Egyptian expert, based in Alexandria University, stated that the project will make both downstream countries (Sudan and Egypt) beneficiaries. He said “that is why Sudan is supporting the project”. He said that Egyptian politicians are trying to play political games rather than following scientific reality.
Based on the colonial period treaty where Ethiopia is not included, Egypt argues the Abay waters largely belong to it and that it has veto power over dams and other upstream projects on the river. Ethiopia, that contributes 86 percent of the total water share that flows to Egypt, has totally rejected the 1959 deal that was signed between Egypt and Sudan to share the water between the two downstream countries.