Yesterday the Ethiopian embassy provided a briefing with its key negotiators on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile.
As everyone knows, there is a stalemate in negotiations with Egypt and Sudan.
Essentially Egypt and Sudan argue that Nile treaties, although old, are still in place. They require Ethiopia to negotiate with their downstream neighbours – and both countries want a formal, legal agreement on how the water will be used. Egypt demands that it will not receive a single drop less water than it does now.
Ethiopia argues that the water falls on its mountains and belongs to it. Addis describes the Nile treaties as colonial and refuses to accept them. While the Ethiopian team says it will not withhold the water in a time of drought (and promises to release some stored water to help Egypt and Sudan during a drought) it rejects calls for a binding agreement or mandatory inspection of the dam. Nor will Ethiopia guarantee that it will not use the Blue Nile in future for anything other than hydroelectric generation – which is what the GERD is designed to provide. And – as is often said – possession is nine-tenths of the law.
Below are some of the key briefing slides provided by the Ethiopian lawyers.