Djibouti – The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, has called for dialogue and compromise in bringing a solution to negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
In a statement, Dr. Workneh said, ‘The negotiation of an arrangement to pave the way for a win-win agreement is the only solution for all.’
‘The region cannot afford tensions and we should stay away from anything that would contribute to building them up between neighbouring countries that share history and are bound by a common destiny’, he added.
Dr. Workneh’s statement comes a day after US President Donald Trump on Friday voiced anger at Ethiopia over its construction of a huge dam on the Nile River and appeared to suggest that Egypt may destroy it.
“It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office with leaders of Sudan and Israel on speakerphone.
“They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something,” Trump said.
Trump — a close ally of Egypt’s general turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — had agreed to Cairo’s pleas to mediate over the dam, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leading talks.
The State Department in September said it was cutting off aid to Ethiopia due to its decision to begin filling the dam despite not reaching an agreement with the downstream nations.
“I had a deal done for them and then unfortunately Ethiopia broke the deal, which they should not have done. That was a big mistake,” Trump said.
Ethiopia has since responded and denounced the “belligerent threats, adding that the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride, aimed at pulling millions of people from poverty.
“The man doesn’t have a clue on what he is talking about,” Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn tweeted, calling Trump’s remark reckless and irresponsible.
However, IGAD says its confident in the African Union led process to bringing about a solution acceptable to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.