Egypt needs to engage more actively in a give and take than sticking to the unfair and nullified colonial-era-treaty in order to revive the stalled negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), say experts.
Jimma University International
Affairs Director Assistant Professor ErmiasAdmassutold The Ethiopian Herald that Egypt has been creating havoc for reaching a fair and balanced solution in GERD talks as it is always trying to maintain upper hand in both legal and technical agreements.
Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew
told media last Friday that Egypt does not want to give anything while wishing for taking all benefits from the Nile waters which is not right.
“Egypt is not willing to continue with Nile Basin InitiativeandhasrejectedCooperative Framework Agreement and has been
encouraging other countries to do the same contrary to international cooperation on cross-border Rivers.”
Ethiopia has been exerting efforts to solve differences in negotiation for mutual benefit. However Egypt is arguing stubbornly standing on colonial era deal that had rejected Ethiopia, the source of 86 percent water share of the Blue Nile River, Ermias states.
The agreements on the water share of the Nile River made in 1929 and 1959 are not legally and morally right. The agreements are not relevant since they have totally excluded other riparian countries including Ethiopia, he notes.
“We have full right to get benefit from Abay/ Nile River since we are the source of the bulk amount of the water and have various economic and social problems,” Ermias adds.
There is no international convention that obliges countries to accept a deal that does not involve one of the countries in making the deal. Moreover, every nation has a right
to reject and struggle for cancelation of such agreements that harms its national interest, he underlines.
Ethiopia has made only one agreement regarding the Nile waters with Egypt and Sudan that is the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015, as to Gedu.
There would be no consensus among the countries if Egypt continues in its zero sum game attitude of unilaterally benefiting from the Nile, Ermias points out.
“As we clearly see in the negotiations, Egyptian negotiators set a precondition and even predicted that the future discussion would not be successful. Then, they have misinformed and deceived the international community that the negotiation has not showed progress due to Ethiopia’s stubbornness while the opposite is true” he mentions.
This is not acceptable in any diplomatic negotiation. As to him, the colonial era agreements on the Nile that made Egypt to get stubborn on Nile water share should be revised and replaced with fair legal
framework through active participation of all riparian countries including Ethiopia, Ermias recommends.
Egypt has gone far to create diplomatic pressure on Ethiopia which includes pushing countries to stop their support to Ethiopia, he says.
Not only this, Egypt is also engaging in interfering to Ethiopia’s internal affairs, Gedu says.
Egypt’s diplomatic strategy is mostly depending on interfering in the issues of other countries, says Endale Nigussie, a Diplomatic and International Relations Scholar at Civil Service University.
Egypt has been interfering in Israel and Palestine affairs, Libya and Yemen’s domestic politics while it has not achieved notable peace in these affairs because its stance does not depend on mutual benefit, he mentions.
Egypt’s diplomacy is dynamic with various countries across the world while it doesn’t show any change to Ethiopia mainly focusing on finding a leakage to destabilize the nation, he notes.
It has been supporting some opposition parties and other groups to diminish the power of the Ethiopia’s government, Endale points out.
However, Ethiopia should strongly work on finding ways to rule the diplomacy with good motives focusing on the people of Egypt than the government and extremist elites that portray Ethiopians as selfish and enemy, he suggests.
Buying Endale’s thought Gedu also calls on the people of Egypt and the international community to influence the Egyptian government to go along with logical argument based on mutual benefit to reach a win-win solution on GERD.
The GERD is a public project that every Ethiopian has been contributing for. Therefore it should be completed and get functional as fast as possible. To this end, every hurdle should be controlled. The experts agree that Ethiopia should solve the problem through discussion while undertaking to ensure GERD’s completion by all means to meet the public demand.