No third party has the right to impose an agreement about the construction, filling and operation of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Addis Ababa University Associate Professor Yacob Arsano said. 

Stakeholders of the dam, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, have been conducting extensive talks for almost eight years, the scholar noted, adding that they still need to resolve their differences based on mutual interests.

The associate professor water expert pointed out that the International Water Law in place allows sovereign states to develop and utilize their natural resources without causing significant harm on downstream countries.

In addition to providing the necessary support for such initiatives, the law also permits and encourages countries to develop their water resources for development goals, he added.

“There is no international law and principle that prohibits countries from developing their own resources,” according to the expert.  

Any disagreement about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that sits on the Blue Nile, the main tributary of the world’s longest river, can therefore be resolved through discussion, Yakob elaborated.

Commenting on the recent statement of the U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the scholar rejected the document released by the secretary for the three countries to sign without the participation of Ethiopia as totally unacceptable.

To begin with, the US was invited to the negotiation as an observer, he noted, further revealing that it later acted as a mediator and then drafted an agreement; which Yakob stressed is unacceptable to the Ethiopian side.

Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office Executive Director, Fekahmed Negash said on his part the riparian countries should have to understand the benefits of the dam rather than its impacts.

Ethiopia considers equitable utilization of the Nile water with the aim to generate power to fulfill local demand and export energy to neighboring regions, the executive director stated.

“Ethiopia has taken into consideration the interest of downstream countries and has carried out various activities to address their concerns,” Fekahmed added.

According to him, Egypt and Sudan will benefit from reduction in flooding and silting, and the dam will be additional benefit for water conservation. Walta Reports