Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam, Professor Emeritus and Attorney at Law, wrote a Letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Talks.Jun 17th 2020 · 1 min read
Professor Alemayehu on his letter noted that Ethiopia has the sovereign right to use its river waters equitably, reasonably and consistent with international law.
Alemayehu said he wrote the letter to share his concerns, views, and ideas on the U.S. role, and specifically the Secretary’s personal role, in the “Washington GERD talks” and make specific recommendations consistent with principles of American law and standards of fairness.
He addressed eight points on his letter as follows.
I. The U.S. must be aware Ethiopia has always sought peace with Egypt in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) discussions and negotiations and pursued cordial relations in all aspects of its bilateral relations with Egypt. Conversely, Egypt has historically waged war on Ethiopia to exercise hegemony over Nile River waters and even today threatens to wage war unless Ethiopia submits to its demands.
II. The Treasury Department’s diplomatic engagement in the GERD talks is an egregious usurpation of the statutory duties of the State Department.
III. Ethiopia has the sovereign right to use its river waters equitably and reasonably and consistent with international law.
IV. The Treasury Department must make public the “agreement” Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan allegedly agreed to sign on February 28, 2020.
V. Before there can be any continued GERD discussions under U.S. sponsorship, the so-called February 28, 2020 “agreement” must be formally countermanded.
VI. The GERD disputes could be advanced by extracting practical lessons and insights from U.S-Mexico water sharing agreements.
VII. The specter of US of aid cutoff, obstruction of access to multilateral loans to Ethiopia and deferment from participation in bilateral trade and investment opportunities which, according to some observers, hangs over Ethiopia if she refuses to sign the so-called February 28 agreement is counterproductive and will exacerbate the existing situation and must not be contemplated.
VIII. The GERD dispute is between African countries. The U.S. must accede to the principle, “African solutions must be developed for African problems.”