Consultative Dialogue on Developments of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
On July 7, 2021, ECFA held a consultative dialogue on the recent developments in the issue of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. First, reference was made to the draft resolution submitted by Tunisia to settle this file, and to the announcement by Ethiopia on July 5 of starting the second filling of the Renaissance Dam, in a unilateral measure that violates international laws and treaties related to transboundary rivers. This prompted both Cairo and Khartoum to issue a joint statement denouncing Addis Ababa’s steps, while the US State Department Spokesperson “Ned Price” indicated on July 7 that Ethiopia’s filling of the Renaissance Dam reservoir would likely increase tension, calling on all parties to refrain from unilateral moves regarding the dam. The League of Arab States, on its part, also sent a letter on July 7 to the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, supporting the positions of both Egypt and Sudan on the dam crisis, expressing its concern regarding the Ethiopian letter submitted to the UN Security Council on the crisis of the dam negotiations.
The consultative dialogue concluded by emphasizing a number of points, including: working to reveal Ethiopia’s water policies, which are based on the nationalization of international rivers; using the report of the International Panel of Experts on the defects and damages resulting of the dam and publishing it in the media as much as possible; Containing South Sudan and helping it to rise, which would contribute to securing Egypt’s need for additional waters, in addition to its share of the Blue Nile; Emphasizing that Ethiopia has energy alternatives other than the Nile waters, as it has gas in the Ogaden region; Emphasizing the right of Egypt and Sudan to take all necessary means to protect and guarantee the rights of their peoples in the legitimate defense of the right to life and existence, in the event that they exhaust all peaceful means to settle the crisis; Confronting Ethiopia with Sudan’s right to the Benishangul region, which is Sudanese territory in accordance with the 1902 agreement on the borders between Sudan and Ethiopia.
In the event that Ethiopia recognizes the 1902 Boundary and Water Agreement, it must abide by and recognize the obligations contained therein, especially not to impede the flow of water to the two downstream countries. In the event of non-recognition, Egypt and Sudan will have the right – then – to restore the Benishangul region with its facilities and buildings, including the Renaissance Dam and its management and operation in a manner that achieves the common interests of the concerned parties, given that the region was handed over to Ethiopia in exchange for these water obligations, specifically not obstructing water flow.