A Specialist in public international law, and Secretary General of the International Committee for the Defense of Water Resources, Mohamed Mahmoud Mahran, denounced the Ethiopian Foreign Minister’s accusation to Egypt, of attempting to politicize the Nile water and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue.
He slammed these accusations as a futile attempt by Ethiopia to divert the course of negotiations and evade its obligations under international law.
Ethiopia is attempting to waste time to complete the fourth filling of the dam, by imposing a fait accompli policy, and without concluding a binding legal agreement for all parties regarding filling and operating dates, Mahran said.
In televised statements on Thursday, he explained that Ethiopia is deliberately violating all international charters and agreements, since the announcement of the construction of the dam, through unilateral measures.
The countries sharing the international watercourse of the Nile were not notified regarding any actions on the waterway, he added.
Yet Egypt has adhered to the rules of international law, by committing to resolve the conflict through peaceful means, despite the negative repercussions on Egypt’s water security, he said.
He added that Egypt has strictly committed to the negotiation table for more than ten years, with deep studies to find solutions for all parties – to no avail so far – amid Ethiopian intransigence that rejected any attempt to solve the issue or merely sit down and abide by the international covenants that protect the water rights of each country.
Mahran added that the ongoing dispute over the Renaissance Dam is governed by the 1997 United Nations Framework Convention on the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses.
It regulates the usage, development, preservation, management and protection of international watercourses, and works to achieve optimal and sustainable use of it for current and future generations.
Resolving the Ethiopian dam crisis requires political will from Ethiopia he said, as it is the will of the states that plays a fundamental role in settling international disputes.
He implored Ethiopia to show good intention to implement its obligations imposed by international law and international agreements, especially the 2015 Agreement of Principles, to reach a an amicable settlement of the crisis.
Mahran stressed that more pressure must be put on Ethiopia, compelling it to negotiate and consider the interests of the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdi Loza also denounced the Ethiopian Minister’s accusation of Egypt attempting to politicize the dam issue.
He stressed that the Egyptian concerns about the repercussions of this project on Egypt’s water security are real and based on documented scientific studies.
In Wednesday press statements, Loza said that the continuous Ethiopian claim that Egypt is politicizing the Renaissance Dam crisis is an attempt to evade legal responsibility, and disregard the principles of international law and good neighborliness.
Loza added that it is unfortunate that Ethiopian officials continue to claim a willingness and desire to resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union, as it is ultimately a new attempt to waste time and continue filling the dam without a binding agreement.
Loza accused Ethiopia of intransigence, evidenced by recent statements about Ethiopia’s absolute freedom to continue filling the dam without regard for any rights of the two downstream countries.