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.
Fruitful discussions on African Solutions to the #GERD with the Bureau of the AU Assembly plus #Ethiopia, #Sudan & #Egypt. I appreciate @CyrilRamaphosa for his leadership in facilitating these high-level talks of continental significance. Gratitude also to @AUC_MoussaFaki. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/MnUKR4OSDE— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) June 26, 2020
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:
AU and Bureau members will support the process of reaching agreement. The convening demonstrated "seeking African Solution to African Problems" is a right pathway for Africa's problem solving. Africa can truly tackle it's problems effectively.— Seleshi Bekele (@seleshi_b_a) June 27, 2020
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.
After 9 yrs of negotiations, what makes @AbiyAhmedAli believe that the Egyptians will change their way and agree to reasonable use of the nile within 2 weeks? I hope we didn't make a monumental blunder. #FILLTHEDAM now!!— Kassahun Dagne (@kassahundagne) June 27, 2020