Egypt and Ethiopia: pointless negotiations on Renaissance Dam

Continuation of the series of failure and concessions in the Nile water file. The Egyptian regime is trying to satisfy the Ethiopian side to accept its limited demands on the waters of the Nile and the filling of the Renaissance Dam. After the regime ceded Egypt‘s water rights in 2015. Ethiopia took advantage of the weakness of the Egyptian regime and continued its procrastination strategy until the construction of the dam and the Nile waters were prevented from Egypt. The regime’s attempts to reach any agreement with Ethiopia did not succeed.

Meetings in hotels to no avail

Every now and then Egyptian officials meet with Ethiopian and Sudanese officials in American and European capitals for the purpose of discussing the Renaissance Dam. But observers say that these negotiations“>negotiations are futile and represent only an opportunity to travel and shop for these officials. At a time when Egypt suffers from water scarcity that threatens agricultural production and may lead to famines and the collapse of the social and economic system in Egypt.

New negotiations in Washington
Today, Saturday, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the third meeting of the talks for the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam between Egypt‘s Minister of Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati and his Sudanese counterparts, Yasser Abbas Mohamed, and the Ethiopian Selci Bekele, will begin for two days, with the participation of representatives of the World Bank and the United States. American, as meeting monitors.

New discussions in the United States

The meeting comes within the framework of the road map developed by Egypt‘s foreign ministers, Sameh Shoukry, Sudan Asma Abdullah and Ethiopia Gedo Andaragchio in the American capital Washington, in their meeting held last November 9, under the auspices of the US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin and attended by World Bank President David Malbas, which included holding 4 technical meetings, including two in the United States, to follow up and evaluate the progress of the technical negotiations, provided that an agreement is reached by mid-January next year.

Technical elements of the dam negotiations

Today, the ministers will discuss the outstanding points of the technical elements ruling the filling and operation of the dam, dealing with droughts, protracted droughts, and refills, in addition to the coordination mechanism between the three countries, and complete the presentation of each country’s point of view on these elements.
According to Egyptian sources accompanying the negotiations, the perception of linking the filling period of the dam reservoir to the size of the rains and the drought rates that Egypt presented during the previous meeting in Cairo represented a major breakthrough for the crisis. The same sources pointed out that “there is confirmed information in Cairo that Addis Ababa agreed to the proposal, but it will respond definitively to it during the last session scheduled to be held in the American capital Washington,” so that you do not have to make concessions during the previous sessions of the last meeting.
The sources revealed that Egypt, during talks with representatives of the American administration concerned with mediation in that file, expressed its welcome to reach a new agreement instead of the 1929 agreement for managing the Nile waters that are not satisfied by the Ethiopian side, provided that any new agreement for Egypt secures its water needs.

The strength of Ethiopia‘s relations and stunting the Egyptian role

The sources pointed out that Cairo has suffered during the last period from the size and strength of the network of relationships and alliances Addis Ababa, which is brilliantly managed by the current Ethiopian government in order to achieve the greatest amount of gains, according to the sources. She explained that even at the level of the allies of the Egyptian regime, Cairo faced great difficulties in persuading them of its position, and urging them to lend a hand, given the strong ties they have with Addis Ababa.

The First Nile Water Agreement, in 1929, gave Egypt priority in obtaining water, and deprived the Nile Basin countries at the source of any right to water, even if the source was their lands. This treaty was originally agreed between Egypt and Great Britain, which it claimed represented the upstream colonies.

And independent Sudan was added after that in 1959, along with Egypt and Britain in an updated version of the agreement. As for Ethiopia, even after it became an independent country that was not a party to any of these agreements.

Egypt and Ethiopia: pointless negotiations on Renaissance Dam

The Egyptian regime waived Egypt‘s water rights

According to the agreement, Egypt has the right to reject any exploration projects that threaten their rights to water, and this has made it difficult for upstream countries to secure foreign financing for projects that aim to exploit the waters of the Nile, and this was part of the reason that prompted Ethiopia to choose self-financing for the project, which forced Banks buy government bonds to build the dam.

Saudi loans to Ethiopia

Not long ago, the Ethiopian government revealed the day before yesterday that it would obtain two loans from Saudi Arabia, an ally supporting Egypt. The office of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abi Ahmed, stated that Ethiopia will obtain two loans from Riyadh, amounting to 140 million dollars, for energy and infrastructure projects.

According to the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office, after Abi Ahmed meets with a delegation from the Saudi Government Development Fund, the loans will be directed to the construction of roads, solar energy plants and water supply.

Saudi Arabia had sponsored the signing of a historic reconciliation agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2018, which was a major reason why Abi Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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