Egypt has been the beneficiary of the River Nile for centuries. Though the Blue Nile which flows from the Ethiopian highlands carries 85% of the Nile waters, Ethiopia was not the beneficiary of its Nile waters. Different reasons can be traced for this. The seasonal rainfalls could be one reason. The other reasons are financial and technical. Financial capacity could have been solved by asking international financial institutions but due to the 1929 and 1959 Agreements made between Egypt and Sudan superimposed by the former colonial power of Great Britain which gave 55.5 Billion cubic meters of water to Egypt and 18.5 Billion cubic meters to Sudan as their shares, Ethiopia which contributes 85% of the waters got zero shares which is unfair .Furthermore, the colonizer and the colonized countries, Egypt and Sudan didnít consult Ethiopia about the agreements. Not only this, Egypt has been trying its best to influence the international financial institutions, and the super powers not to give Ethiopia any loans for the construction of any dam for irrigation let alone to the hydroelectric power. Knowing all these realities, our government has decided that constructing dams would help us get out of poverty.

We, Ethiopians also have the right to utilize our natural resources for our way out of poverty without harming any lower riparian countries. Any African country can do the same thing for their way out of poverty. Had it not been for our poverty, we could have built so many dams along the Blue Nile. Now that we are capable of financing the biggest project, the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, we are on our way to make it real. But how many of us Ethiopians know that Egypt has Nine dams and Sudan has about Six whereas Ethiopia has only three, including the GERD which is on progress. Did they consult us when the 15 dams were constructed as we did for the GERD? Never! Egyptian leaders must understand that circumstances are changed in the upper riparian countries. There are so many justifications for this

1. The 1929 and 1959 agreements granted absolute control of the Nile water to Egypt
2. It also recognizes the right of Egypt to supervise any activities in the entire basin and its historical rights in utilizing the water of the Nile
3. The agreement imposes legal obligations on the upper riparian countries to respect Egyptís natural rights on the utilization on the Nile River.
4. Ethiopia had never been colonized by Great Britain or part of any British colonial territories.
5. It does not produce direct or in direct legal consequences on Ethiopia

In modern diplomacy, it is ridiculous to negotiate an old fashioned colonial agreement of the Nile River where upstream countries had not been given any chance of participation.

Therefore, any statement should be based on the principles of mutual cooperation and mutual benefit of the peoples of the upper riparian countries in general and the three countries, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in particular. The only way out of poverty is respecting the rights of the people of Ethiopia and other signatories of the Nile Basin Initiative Framework Agreement that allows equity and fair distribution of the Nile waters among the upper and lower riparian countries. Therefore, the 1929 and1959 agreements should be replaced by a new pan African Agreement based on mutual benefit for the sources of the Nile waters and lower riparian countries. I would like to say enough is enough. No more chauvinism, No more destabilizing, stop playing the oldest cassettes of the colonial era agreements. Start the New pan African Treaty which benefits the Dozens of countries! There is not any other alternative! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Maru Ze Mekelle

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