Statement on the Resolution of the League of Arab States on the GERD

Ethiopia is dismayed by the “Resolution” of the Executive
Council of the League of Arab States on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance
Dam (GERD) issued on 15 June 2021 after its meeting held in Doha, Qatar.
Ethiopia rejects the “Resolution” in its entirety. In fact, this is not
the first time the League of Arab States issued a statement regarding
its misguided positions on the GERD. As a result of its egregious
support to the baseless claims of Egypt and Sudan regarding the GERD,
the League of Arab States has already squandered its opportunity to play
a constructive role. It should be abundantly clear that futile attempts
like this to internationalize and politicize the GERD will not lead to
sustainable regional cooperation in the utilization and management of
the Nile.

The League of Arab States should know that utilization of the Nile
waters is also an existential matter for Ethiopia. It is about lifting
millions of its people out of abject poverty and meeting their energy,
water, and food security needs. Ethiopia is exercising its legitimate
right to use its water resources in full respect for international water
laws and the principle of causing no significant harm. Ethiopia firmly
believes that it is only through cooperation and dialogue that the water
security of any of the Nile Basin states can be achieved. The Nile is a
shared resource and not an exclusive property of Egypt and Sudan. That
is why it is perplexing that the League of Arab States places particular
emphasis on the water security of the two downstream countries in
complete disregard to the interest of the rest of the Nile riparian
states, which are the sources of the river. There is no better example
than this to demonstrate the organization’s unhelpful and misguided
approach towards the Nile issue.

From the outset, Ethiopia has done everything possible to accommodate
the concerns of the two downstream countries in good faith with the
hope of ushering in a new era of cooperation among the Nile Basin
countries. It is the intransigence of both Egypt and Sudan, which has
made it extremely difficult to make any meaningful progress in the
tripartite negotiation. During the South African-led negotiation, it was
Egypt and the Sudan that disrupted the negotiations seven times.

Despite the tremendous efforts by the DRC to create the necessary
conditions for the resumption of the trilateral negotiations at the
meeting held in Kinshasa from 3-5 April 2021, the two countries
deliberately undermined the possibility of agreeing on a roadmap for the
continuation of the negotiations. Ethiopia agreed to seven of the nine
proposals contained in the draft communiqué prepared by the DRC, while
Egypt and Sudan rejected the substantive parts of the communiqué. The
two countries worked in concert to ensure the failure of the Kinshasa
meeting by raising unrelated procedural issues. It is, therefore,
regrettable that the League of Arab States decided to take a position on
the AU-led negotiation without verifying the facts.

The League of Arab States also seems to be oblivious of the fact that
the tripartite negotiation between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan are
guided by the Declaration of Principles (DoP), which the leaders of the
three countries signed in 2015. The filling of the GERD will be
conducted as per the plan in accordance with the DoP and the
recommendation of the research group composed of experts from the three
countries. Hence, Ethiopia categorically rejects the futile attempt by
the League of Arab States to dictate terms regarding the filling of the
GERD. As a regional organization, it would have been only appropriate
for the League of Arab States to encourage the three parties to reach a
win-win solution instead of its unhelpful, partial, and unreasonable

What is even more disappointing is the attempt by Egypt and Sudan to
unnecessarily politicize the GERD negotiation and try to make it an Arab
issue. This clearly shows their lack of fidelity to the AU-led
tripartite process. The GERD is an African issue, which needs an African
solution. The disagreement between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan can only
be resolved through good faith negotiation and compromise in the spirit
of finding African solutions to African problems. It is precisely
because of this reason that the United Nations Security Council referred
the matter to the African Union.

Therefore, the League of Arab States should desist from making such
unhelpful statements, which will only serve to antagonize the relations
between the three countries and undermine the tripartite negotiation. It
should instead encourage Egypt and Sudan to engage in good faith
negotiation to find a win-win solution and lend its full support to the
ongoing AU-led process in this regard. Once again, Ethiopia reaffirms
its commitment to the Declaration of Principles and remains fully
engaged in the AU-led tripartite negotiation process to find a mutually
beneficial outcome on the GERD issue.

Spokesperson Office

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

15 June 2021

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