Communiqué of Ethiopian Civic Society Groups in the Diaspora on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) - ZeHabesha: Latest Ethiopian News and Point of View 24/7
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Communiqué of Ethiopian Civic Society Groups in the Diaspora on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)

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On this day of June 27, 2020, members and representatives of civic society groups, whose names appear at the end of this document, held a video conference on the question of the GERD, and have adopted the following communiqué.

WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that Ethiopia presently is at a crossroads facing tremendous challenges, including external aggression, internal conflicts, a pandemic outbreak, and economic collapse as a result of the pandemic;

WHEREAS, foremost among the immediate threats to Ethiopia’s security and sovereignty is the age-old, neocolonialist ambitions of Egypt to control the sources of the Nile River by denying the riparian states their natural rights to the equitable use of the waters of the Nile River, over 85% of which originate from Ethiopia;

WHEREAS, Egypt’s deplorable claim to its monopolistic rights to the waters of the Nile is manifestly based on antiquated, colonial-era treaties, which were surreptitiously signed by colonial powers in complete exclusion of Ethiopia and without any provisions for its water needs;

WHEREAS, it is a well- known fact that colonial agreements, which were entered under duress, were declared null and void as far back as 1963 by the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union;

WHEREAS, Egypt has consistently bypassed the African Union and preferred to escalate the matter to the United Nations Security Council, especially at a time when President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi was chair of the organization, in contravention of the objectives and principles enshrined in Articles 3 & 4 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, and without exhausting the conditions enshrined in Article 33 (1) of the UN Security Council Charter;

WHEREAS, we welcome the recent efforts of the African Union, under the leadership of President Cyril R Ramaphosa, to resolve Africa’s problems by Africans;

WHEREAS, over 98% of the people of Egypt have access to fresh water, compared to less than 42% in Ethiopia; 100% of Egyptian households have access to electricity, compared to less than 45% in Ethiopia; and Egypt has unlimited access to sea and underground water and Ethiopia is completely land-locked;

WHEREAS, Ethiopia has admirably taken all the necessary measures to uphold the principles of “equitable use” and “no significant harm” in the construction and future operation of the GERD, while adhering to all applicable regional treaties, including the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), and the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which Egypt has failed to ratify;

WHEREAS, the dam, upon completion, will decidedly benefit all riparian states, generating much needed power, promoting regional cooperation, stimulating economic activities, ensuring peace and stability, and mitigating unnecessary loss of water and periodic flooding problems in the Sudan;

WHEREAS, a delay in the filling and operation of the dam will cause incalculable economic loss to Ethiopia, including billions of dollars in direct and opportunity costs;

WHEREAS, we applaud the steadfast position of the government of Ethiopia to protect the long-term interest of its 114 million people and the inviolable sovereignty of the country;

WHEREAS, we condemn the regrettable efforts of Egypt to rally the Arab world against Ethiopia, reminiscent of the Arab conquests, slave trade and expansion in black Africa;

WHEREAS, we denounce the covert and overt actions of Egypt over the years to destabilize successive governments in the riparian states in general and in Ethiopia in particular as part of its overarching strategy to advancing its startlingly self-centered claim over the waters of the Nile; and

WHEREAS, we applaud the decision of the United States Congressional Black Caucus to encourage Egypt to negotiate in good faith with Ethiopia through the proper channels of the African Union;

NOW THEREFORE, we call upon:

1. The United Nations Security Council to refer any question relating to the GERD back to the African Union, which has the legitimate remit and mandate to resolve such disputes;

2. The African Union to continue its efforts to resolve the matter peacefully and judiciously, in accordance with the existing framework on equitable use of the waters of the Nile, while respecting the sovereignty of all countries concerned, as exemplified by the Treaty on Lesotho Highlands Water Project;
3. All Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin, regardless of ethnicity, creed or political affinities, to come together in support of the Ethiopian government to continue to negotiate without compromising the future of Ethiopia and its sovereignty over the sources and tributaries of the Blue Nile river system;

4. The people of the Arab world in general, and the people of Egypt in particular, to encourage the government of Egypt to abandon its militaristic and neocolonialist postures, and instead to exert its efforts on prudent water management policy, including efficient irrigation, ground water extraction and sea water desalination, in consultation with all upstream countries;

5. The United States government to: (a) refrain from emboldening Egypt in its militaristic adventures;

(b) rescind the discriminatory statement issued by the Treasury Secretary on February 28, 2020; (c) stop putting direct or indirect pressures on Ethiopia to cede its sovereignty; (d) adopt an impartial policy to support a fair and equitable use of the Nile by all riparian countries; and (e) encourage all concerned parties to negotiate in good faith through the NBI and CFA, under the auspices of the African Union; and

6. All peace-loving nations to support Ethiopia’s just cause, and use their influence to avert a looming human tragedy emanating from Egypt’s egotistical policy of exclusive and monopolistic rights to the waters of the Nile.

Partial list of Signatory Civil Society Groups in the Ethiopian Diaspora:

  1. Ethiopian Advocacy Network
  2. Ethiopian-American Civic Council
  3. Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abbay
  4. Ethiopian Waters Advocacy Council
  5. Ethiopiawinnett: Council for the Defense of Citizens Rights
  6. Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, Inc.
  7. Ethiopian Community and Cultural Center of Bay Area
  8. Ethiopian Community Center of Las Vegas, Nevada
  9. Ethiopian Professional Association in Southern Africa
  10. GERD Support Group in Arizona
  11. GERD Support Group of Los Angeles
  12. GERD Support Group in Oregon and South-Western Washington
  13. Forum 65 (www.65Percent.org)
  14. Network of Ethiopian Scholars
  15. Vision Ethiopia

 

June 27, 2020

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