In a new escalation of the Renaissance Dam crisis, Egypt said, Thursday, March 18, 2021, that it is “regrettable that Ethiopian officials use the language of sovereignty in their conversations about exploiting the resources of a transboundary river, as international rivers are the joint ownership of the riparian countries and it is not permissible to extend sovereignty over them.”
This came in a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, the day after Ethiopia announced its intention to complete the filling of the Renaissance Dam, considering it a “matter of sovereignty.”
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry indicated that “these natural resources should be used to serve the peoples of the countries that share them on the basis of international law, the most important of which are the principles of cooperation, fairness and non-harm,” stressing that “the Ethiopian statements reflect the absence of Addis Ababa’s political will to negotiate a settlement of the dam crisis. The renaissance, and once again reveals Ethiopia’s intention and desire to impose a fait accompli on the two downstream states.
While Egypt affirmed its rejection of this “because of the threat it poses to the interests of the Egyptian and Sudanese peoples, and the impact of such unilateral measures on security and stability in the region,” according to the same statement.
The Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Demiki Mekonnen, said during a symposium celebrating the decade of the construction of the Renaissance Dam project, on Wednesday 17 March 2021, that the completion of the Renaissance Dam project is “a matter of guaranteeing the country’s sovereignty,” pointing out that “the next rainy season that extends over the period From July to next October, the process of the second filling of the dam will be completed, “stressing that” the second filling period will not be extended in any way. “
Also, the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demiki Mekonnen, stated at the same symposium that 79% of the construction of the dam has been completed.
International Quadruple Mediation
As announced SudanThursday, March 18, 2021, he received positive responses to the formation of a quadripartite international mechanism to mediate in the negotiations of the “Renaissance Dam” crisis, amid Ethiopian silence so far.
The head of the Sudanese technical negotiating team at the Renaissance Dam, Mustafa Hussein, said that his country received very positive responses from all parties that were called to quadruple mediation on the Renaissance Dam talks, namely the United Nations, the European Union and the United States, in addition to the African Union that sponsors the negotiations.
According to Hussein, the international parties expressed their willingness to play a facilitating and mediating role in negotiation and making available their technical, legal and political expertise to bridge the points of view of the three countries.
Sudan announced a few days ago that it had sent official letters to the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States, to form a quadripartite mechanism to mediate in the negotiations.
Hussein confirmed that Quartet mediationWhich is strongly supported by Egypt, “will strengthen and support the efforts of the African Union headed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to reach a binding and satisfactory legal agreement for the three parties on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam,” indicating that the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity announced its insistence on the second filling in next July without reaching For an agreement, that means Ethiopia’s persistence in its stance, which is in violation of international law. “
Declaration of the principles of the Renaissance Dam
He considered the Ethiopian position “inconsistent with the Declaration of Principles agreement signed by heads of state, in March 2015, regarding filling and operating the Renaissance Dam,” calling for appeals to what he described as “the voice of reason, and respect for international laws that are concerned with regard to transboundary waters.” And commitment to the principle of fair and reasonable use of water, without causing significant harm to the riparian states, and cooperation in exchanging information and negotiating in good faith to reach a legal agreement binding on all parties.
He stressed that “Ethiopia’s unilaterally carrying out the second filling constitutes a direct threat to the lives of 20 million Sudanese citizens living on the banks of the Blue Nile and the Main Nile, and that unilateral action also creates serious risks to our vital installations, including dams, infrastructure, and existing agricultural and industrial activities,” adding: “We affirm that Sudan, in all cases, is able to protect its national security, its resources, and the integrity of its infrastructure.”
Until the moment the report was published, the Ethiopian side did not comment on the statements of the Sudanese official, but Addis Ababa had previously rejected the proposal to form an international quadripartite mechanism.
On March 9, Ethiopia announced its rejection of the Sudanese proposal to form a quadripartite international mediation to resolve the “Renaissance Dam” negotiations.
It is noteworthy that Ethiopia insists on starting the second filling of the Renaissance Dam next July, while Khartoum and Cairo adhere to first reaching a tripartite agreement, in order to preserve their annual share of the Nile water, amid stalled negotiations led by the African Union for months.
The last round of negotiations failed
This comes after the last round of Dam negotiationsAfter the Sudanese Foreign Ministry announced, on Sunday, January 10, the failure to reach an acceptable formula to continue negotiations on the “Renaissance Dam”, stressing that Khartoum will not continue negotiations, while the South African Foreign Minister expressed her regret that the Renaissance Dam negotiations had reached ” Impasse”.
At that time, the Sudanese Foreign Minister-designate, Omar Qamar al-Din, at the time, announced that his country had submitted conditions to the African Union to return to “meaningful” negotiations in the Renaissance Dam file, hinting that Khartoum had other “options”.
In turn, the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, Yasser Abbas, said that they could not continue “this vicious circle of discussions on the Renaissance Dam indefinitely,” stressing that “the negotiations ended in failure.”
In February 2019, the US administration announced that an agreement had been reached on the mechanism of action of the Renaissance Dam, which Cairo had signed in its initials, and Ethiopia declined, claiming Washington’s bias towards Egypt, following rounds of negotiations that took place in Washington.
But negotiations stalled again between the three countries, which has been going on for nearly 9 years, amid mutual accusations between Cairo and Addis Ababa of intransigence and a desire to impose unrealistic solutions.