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Ethiopia is gearing up to filling the GERD

Avatar: Bruck Negash
Bruck NegashJune 27, 2020
NewsTrendingCurrent Affairs
Ethiopia is gearing up to filling the GERD
Ethiopia is gearing up towards the final stages of completing and filing its much-anticipated mega-dam. According to a conversation Addis zeybe had with an eye witness at the construction site, currently working in the dam, the final preparations to the filling of the dam are going as planned in the past month. Having worked at the GERD site for the past five months, the witness stated that the construction seems to be going at an encouraging speed. He also went on to comment that there is a sense of anticipation in everyone that has been involved in the building of the dam. The witness told Addis Zeybe the security situation at the construction site is strengthened with the presence of Federal Police and the military. She stated that there is stability and peace in the area. The unanimous support of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) has managed to salvage throughout its multi regime history. Implemented throughout different regimes the project to erect one of the largest dams in the world is going at an encouraging speed. It is now near completion as the country prepares to fill the structure in the coming month. However, in a tweet yesterday, Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali announced that a new African Union-led negotiation has commenced calling the meeting held yesterday one that bore fruitful discussions on the matter. The agreement reached yesterday was negotiated under the chairmanship of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and in the presence of AU Chairperson Moussa Faki, the bureau of the African Union Assembly and leaders of Kenya, Mali and DR Congo. This recent development came as a shock to all of us following the strong position shown by Ethiopia in response to Egypt’s letter calling for the United Nations Security Council to intervene in the matter. To all following the negotiations, it seemed like Ethiopia’s adamance to start filling the dam in the month of July did not seem like changing. However, the African Union seems to have stepped up to the plate to help the three riparian states find a solution to their decade long disagreement over the Nile. Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s tweet referred to the meeting under the leadership of the African Union as fruitlful while also acknowledging the important leadership shown by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and the African Union Commissioner Moussa Fak as well as the leaders of Kenya, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Ato Seleshi Bekele also tweeted applauded the involvement of the African Union in the matter in a tweet that stressed on the importance of finding African solutions for African problems.The meeting also decided to inform the UN that the AU has seized the matter ending the discussions at the UN level at least temporarily.The agreement would mean that the filling of the dam will be delayed by at least two weeks. This has sparked quite the reaction from the Ethiopian community across different social media platforms. For a community that had been supporting the filling of the dam with incredible uniformity, the recent twist in the negotiations has become a bit disappointing. Kassahun Dagne tweeted:   Another user named Yared Asrat expressed the same concern saying any delay to reach an agreement is in the interest of Egypt. He said he fears Egypt could delay the dam’s feeling for as long as it wants to. The reasoning behind the discontent from the Ethiopian community is not baseless. For instance, the fact that the position by both users was reaffirmed in an official letter sent to the UNSC by Ethiopia last week in response to the Egyptian complaint makes the concern and emotion around the decision to delay the negotiations well-founded. When considering the Ethiopian government through the letter last week and on many other occasions has pointed out Egypt’s reluctance to negotiate in an effort to reach an understanding, the decision to pause the clock to fill the dam and go back to negotiations seems far away from the position that had been taken by Ethiopia in recent weeks. However, one must not oversee the significance of the African Union stepping up to the plate as well. This was a major development that played a major role in the recent twist to the negotiations. Following the endorsement by the Congressional Black Caucus in a press release dated on June 23, 2020 and the Ethiopian government’s strong criticism for Egypt decision to go to the UN before heading to the African Union, the decision by Africa’s regional organization to involve in the negotiations is a big variable in the matter. Ethiopia has long been a strong member of the African Union and the decision to further negotiate over the matter could have a lot to do with the negotiations being under the auspices of the African Union. The decision to pause the filling also attests to the strong commitment Ethiopia has to find peaceful solutions to the negotiations surrounding the GERD.In addition to this, the recent letter published on the twitter page of the Prime Minister’s Office also reaffirms the position taken by Ethiopia to fill the dam in July while noting that there will be efforts to mediate the differences of the three countries during the above-identified period of time. The letter also affirmed that the construction of the dam will continue as planned during the negotiations. This letter, in turn goes a long way in addressing the concerns of the Ethiopian community as it clarifies that the negotiations will go hand in hand with the construction. Therefore, the new developments that have set the timer at two weeks from now are not expected to halt the initial filling of the dam.
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A PIECE BYBruck Negash

Bruck Negash is a human rights researcher currently working at Addis Zeybe as a Research Editor.