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Seleshi Bekele, Leader of the Ethiopian Negotiating Team, speaking during the Addis Ababa Talks on September 23, 2023 (Photo : Public Domain)


The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations are reportedly underway. The state media – ENA – on Saturday said “The second round of tripartite negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) kicked off in Addis Ababa…”

However, there appears to be still some confusion regarding the negotiation. It was on the eve of this Ethiopian New year that the Ethiopian government announced what it called the “Fourth and final filling” of the dam was completed.

ENA cited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia to report that this round of “The tripartite talks will mainly deliberate on the first filing and annual operation.”

Why the “first filling” is part of this negotiation is unclear while the government has announced that it has completed the fourth filling.

The Dam was designed to hold 74 billion cubic meters of water and now it is said to have about 42 billion cubic meters of water.

Seleshi Bekele, former Ethiopian Minister of Water and Irrigation, who is currently serving as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, is leading the negotiation team on the part of Ethiopia.

The state media cited him as saying ” this discussion has come after the successful fourth-round filling of the GERD carried out in line with the 2015 Declaration of Principles.”

It was stated that the plan is to reach an agreement during this round of the negotiation.

Seleshi reportedly said that “the only option is to implement the principle of fair and rational use of Nile water as stipulated in the Declaration of Principles.”

The negotiation was stalled for a long time. The African Union led negotiation under the theme “African solution for African Problem” did not bear fruit. That was after the failure of U.S. brokered negotiation in Washington.

Lately, there have been reports that the United Arab Emirates brokered and things seem to be a bit rushing. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has forged a close relationship with UAE president – Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, two weeks ago declared that the fourth filling is the final filling of GERD.

“It is with great joy that I inform you of the completion of the fourth and final filling of the GERD. God has helped us Ethiopians for we have worked together…” he said.


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