AU Believed To Reinitiate Direction Set To Finalize Text Of Guidelines, Rules On 1st Filling, Annual Operation Of GERD: MoFA (April 27, 2021)

In the biweekly press briefing held today, Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dina Mufti explained about activities undertaken related to political diplomacy, the GERD negotiation, the situation in Tigray, citizen-centered diplomatic activities and capacity building.

Ambassador Dina said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 19 April 2021 wrote a letter to Sudanese counterpart, Abdella Hamdok and explained Ethiopia’s position on PM Hamdok’s assertions on the DoP and the results of the negotiation and charted out the way forward. Accordingly, the letter says:

“The right course of action to end the impasse over the tripartite negotiation of the GERD is to request the Chairperson of the African Union, President Felix Tshisekedi to call the meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of the AU.”

Ethiopia believes that the Assembly should reinitiate the direction given to the tripartite last year in July during South Africa’s chairmanship to finalize the text of the guidelines and rules on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD and then to report back to the Bureau of the Assembly, according to the Spokesperson.

Choosing the path of Principle 10 of the Declaration of Principles (DoP) may reverse the whole process back to square one and risks undermining the gains the tripartite have made through painstaking negotiation over the GERD, he noted.

In addition, Article 10 of the Dop can be interpreted in three ways where Ethiopia does not agree with Sudan’s interpretation.

For example, the divergence of opinions among the tripartite technical or legal experts should not be construed as a dispute in interpretation or implementation of the DoP.

“If parties negotiate in good faith results are within our reach,” says the letter, and “Ethiopia still believes that the best way forward is to continue the trilateral negotiation under the AU led process to reach a win-win outcome.

Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr. Seleshi Bekele tabled presentations over the current status of the GERD construction and what is expected of the Ethiopian Diaspora to support the project, he added.

Regarding the situation in Tigray, the Spokesperson said members of the UN Security Council have issued a press statement on the situation in Tigray on 22 April 2021 acknowledging the efforts by the Government of Ethiopia to provide humanitarian assistance and to provide increased humanitarian access in the region.

He added that members welcomed the joint investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission into alleged human rights violations and abuses in Tigray.

The members reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Ethiopia.

The Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations has also issued a statement in response to the Security Council appreciating the friendly members of the Council for their constructive considerations, continued support, and understanding efforts.

According to the Spokesperson, the permanent representative reiterated that the Government of Ethiopia is currently providing a significant portion of the humanitarian assistance delivered to those in need and will continue to allocate the maximum available resources.

He called on international partners to scale up assistance to satisfy humanitarian needs in the Tigray region and beyond expressing commitment to investigate and ensure accountability for alleged violations of human rights, including sexual violence.

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