“Linking Russia’s military-technical assistance with Ethiopia’s difficult and long-term negotiating process on the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is surprising,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said late on Friday in a statement.
According to the ministry, Russian-Ethiopian military-technical collaboration is based on a governmental agreement for defense cooperation.
The military deal “does not have any disruptive nature,” Russia said in the statement, adding that it maintains similar joint cooperation with a number of other nations, including Egypt and Sudan.
As a result, the Russian ministry urged against politicizing the GERD’s development in order to avoid escalating tensions between the three parties. The Russian ministry stated that “we believe that the chances of reaching a resolution acceptable to all within the framework of the tripartite negotiating mechanism mediated by the African Union have not expired yet.”
The ministry stated that the existing conflicts between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan must be resolved in accordance with the spirit and requirements of the 2015 Declaration of Principles, as well as the preliminary agreements established under the tripartite framework.
At the end of a three-day deliberation at the 11th Ethiopia-Russia military-technical cooperation joint meeting in Addis Ababa, Russia and Ethiopia signed a military cooperation agreement.
The two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, have been negotiating with Ethiopia for a decade to reach a comprehensive and legally binding agreement on the GERD, which Addis Ababa has been building on the Blue Nile since 2011, but to no avail, as the upstream country prefers to seek only guidelines that can be changed at any time.