In a statement issued on Friday night the U.S. Treasury Secretary said the final testing and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should not take place without an agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.
The statement noted the concerns of downstream populations in Sudan and Egypt due to unfinished work on the safe operation of the GERD, and the need to implement all necessary dam safety measures in accordance with international standards before filling begins.
Early this wee Ethiopia had notified Egypt, Sudan, and the US that it needed more time to deliberate on the process.
In a joint statement the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy on Saturday said Ethiopia as the owner of the GERD will commence first filling of the GERD in parallel with the construction of the Dam in accordance with the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and the causing of no significant harm as provided for under the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles (DoP).
“Ethiopia does not accept the characterization that the negotiation on the Guidelines and Rules on the First Filling and Annual Operation of the GERD (Guidelines and Rules) is completed,” the statement said.
“The “text” reportedly initialed by the Arab Republic of Egypt in Washington D.C. is not the outcome of the negotiation or the technical and legal discussion of the three countries. Ethiopia made it clear that the Guidelines and Rules must be prepared by the three countries. The Countries are yet to address outstanding issues pertaining to the finalization of the Guidelines and Rules,” the statement reads
According to the statement, Ethiopia, with the full knowledge and agreement of Egypt and Sudan has addressed all dam safety related issues during the International Panel of Experts process. Egypt and the Sudan had expressed their appreciation under Principle 8 of the DOP and Ethiopia will continue to implement it in good faith.
Ethiopia is committed to continue its engagement with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of the Sudan to address the outstanding issues and finalize the Guidelines and Rules on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD.