Kinshasa, April 5th, 2021 (CPA).- The President of the Republic and President of the African Union, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, called on the participants in the Kinshasa Ministerial Conference on « The continuation of tripartite negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam ”, to identify the importance of the Nile as a source of life and a source of development for these three countries, in his address at the opening of this meeting on Sunday, at the Congo River Hotel, in Kinshasa.
« We cannot understand the problem of the construction of the GERD without recognizing the growing need of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan for their transboundary water resources, and understanding the importance of the Nile as a source of life and a source of development.
for these three countries, ”he said. According to Félix Tshisekedi, “the Nile River must remain a fertile source of life and shared prosperity in a win-win process, respectful of the mutual and reciprocal interests of the States and peoples concerned”.
While qualifying this tripartite ministerial meeting as an important step, a major event, a decisive step, he stressed that it will only truly constitute a capital turning point in terms of the content that « all together, we will give it, if we are driven by the determination and courage to overcome obstacles”.
The 2015 Declaration of Principles, the basis for new regional cooperation
President Félix Tshisekedi also urged participants to consider “The 2015 Declaration of Principles” as a constructive basis for all technical and legal developments, and even for the possible establishment of a permanent framework for consultation, as well. that for the implementation of a bundle of regional cooperation projects beneficial to all populations, before recalling the 2063 agenda, challenge of the continuation of the campaign « Silencing the Guns: Creating Conditions Conducive to the Development of ‘Africa’, campaign initiated under the chairmanship of the African Union of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“This is the place to remember here that during my predecessor’s tenure, the parties held two rounds of negotiations which enabled them to produce the first draft of an agreement. This is a text that highlights the positions of the parties and offers a way out.
We must consolidate the achievements of this draft agreement, overcome the pitfalls and move forward, « said Head of State Felix Tshisekedi.
As a reminder, in 2015 the three countries in conflict had signed an agreement in principle on the distribution of water and on GERD.
They had thus decided to call on a « National Independent Scientific Research Group » (NISRG) to assess the environmental impacts of the construction schedules proposed by these countries. This agreement would ensure that the construction of the Great Renaissance Dam does not harm either Egypt or Sudan. Since then, several hiccups have been recorded.
Call for a mutually beneficial agreement
President Félix Tshisekedi hoped that these two days of exchanges and deliberations in Kinshasa, offer the parties the opportunity to examine and propose solutions to the pending technical and legal questions with a view to achieving, according to a roadmap and a timetable to be agreed, for a complete and final settlement of the issue and to open a new page of cooperation in the history of these three brotherly countries, countries so essential to the consolidation of peace throughout the continent.
« The differences around the Ethiopian Renaissance Great Dam should not be seen as inevitable but as a chance for a better rapprochement of our populations and the opening of new opportunities for cross-border and regional cooperation.
They must be ironed out and that is why you are here ”, he insisted, before inviting them all to make a new start, to open one or more windows of hope, to seize all the opportunities.
to rekindle the fire of hope. The Head of State Felix Tshisekedi, it is recalled, was very active on the issue, even when he was vice-president of the African Union. He has discussed it on several occasions with Egyptian and Ethiopian leaders.
GERD is under construction in Benishangul-Gumuz on the Blue Nile, Ethiopia.
Its expected power is 6-450 MW. When completed, it is expected to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam. The project started on May 28, 2013 and will be delivered, according to projections, in 2022. Ethiopia has announced that it has reached the fill level of the dam planned for the first year of operation. Among the points of disagreement, the modalities concerning the duration of the filling of this dam without hindering the flow of the Nile for the two countries downstream.
This work is at the heart of tensions between countries in the region, including Sudan and Egypt, which fear a decrease in water flows. Water from the Ethiopian highlands represents 86% of the water consumed in Egypt and 95% during flooding.
Ethiopia, for its part, is keen on this project, in particular to accelerate the development of irrigated agriculture. The other benefit is to close the energy deficit in this ambitious country. ACP/Awa