The Ethiopian government said that it is better to work with the brothers in the upstream countries and form a strong committee for the river basin on a solid basis, considering that Sudan and Egypt adhere to outdated and unjust treaties drawn up in the colonial era.
Zerihoun Abi, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry diplomat and member of the Renaissance Dam negotiation team, considered that Egypt’s claims that the dam would reduce the water supply are false accusations.
In an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency, Saturday, Zerihon added that fair and equitable use, as well as managing the Nile River in accordance with the principles of international law, is crucial.
He noted that Sudan and Egypt adhere to outdated, unfair, and one-sided colonialist treaties, while Ethiopia is striving to change them.
The Ethiopian diplomat also emphasized that treaties and colonial privileges do not apply to Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Zerihoun stressed that cooperation is the best and only way to sustainable development in the Nile Basin.
“Ultimately, Egypt and Sudan will benefit from cooperation as they cannot achieve their goals through bilateral agreements“, he said.
He added that Ethiopia was not consulted or informed when Egypt built the Aswan Dam and expanded its irrigation scheme.
Likewise, Sudan did not consult Ethiopia during the construction of any of its dams, including the Merowe Dam, which was built recently.
The negotiator pointed out that Ethiopia is pursuing the opposite and sharing information and data, and has called on downstream countries to work with it in reviewing the design and documents of the dam.
Egypt under Focus
He considered that Egypt is one of the countries that waste a lot of water, explaining that it produces crops such as rice, sugar cane and cotton.
Adding that such crops require large quantities of water and are not recommended for cultivation in desert areas.
“The Aswan Dam, which began in the 1960s and was completed in the 1970s, is not technically supported, and building at such high altitudes exposes water to evaporation”, he said.
Mr. Abi stressed, in the same context, that the Nile is what binds all peoples around it together.
“We need to protect it together, we need to use it together, and we need to manage it together in a fair and reasonable manner.”