Egypt announced on Wednesday that during the African summit, it was agreed on the Ethiopian “Renaissance” dam, to continue negotiations, and the need to reach a legally binding agreement, which includes a mechanism to settle disputes between the three parties.
This came in a statement to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following the convening of a virtual African summit on the dam crisis, on Tuesday, with the participation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, his South African counterpart Cyril Ramafuza, and the two prime ministers, the Sudanese Abdullah Hamdock and the Ethiopian Abi Ahmed.
The statement said: “The African summit stressed the need to reach a binding legal agreement on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam, which includes a binding legal mechanism for resolving disputes, which any party to the agreement has the right to resort to to resolve any disputes over the interpretation or implementation of the agreement.”
He added that “it was also agreed to continue negotiations and focus at the present time on giving priority to formulating the binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam, that a comprehensive agreement be reached on all aspects of cooperation between the Blue Nile countries.”
The statement stressed that “the summit dealt with the basic principles governing the negotiations, foremost of which is the need for commitment by all parties not to take unilateral measures, to ensure the success of the negotiations.”
He said, “The commitment of all parties to implement the outcome of the summit is necessary for the success of the negotiations and for reaching a balanced and fair agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam,” according to the same statement.
On Tuesday, Addis Ababa acknowledged the completion of the first phase of filling the Renaissance Dam, following the end of a mini-African summit via video technology on the dam, sponsored by the African Union, and with the participation of senior officials in the three countries, days after an official Ethiopian denial of the filling.
“It has become clear over the past two weeks in the rainy season that the process of filling the Renaissance Dam in the first year has been achieved and that the dam is under construction,” Abi Ahmed’s office said in a statement on Twitter.
This comes in conjunction with Sudan’s announcement of a “sudden decline” in the water level of the Nile River, the exit of a number of drinking water stations from service, and Egypt‘s announcement of the start of a comprehensive plan to rationalize water consumption, in search of a way out in light of the continuing differences with Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is adhering to filling and operating the dam reservoir during the current rainy season that started in July, while Egypt and Sudan refuse to add Addis Ababa to this step before reaching a tripartite agreement.
Egypt fears affecting its annual share of the Nile’s water, which amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters, and demands an agreement on files, including the safety of the dam, and the determination of its filling bases in times of drought.
While Addis Ababa says that it does not aim to harm the interests of Egypt or Sudan, and that the aim of building the dam is to generate electricity and achieve development.