Tag Archives: Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD)

Global Conflict Mediation Proves Elusive for President Trump

29 Jul

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Patsy Widakuswara VOA

Trump the mediator

Trump, the one-time New York real estate businessman and reality TV star, has inserted his administration in dispute negotiations, some of which began in his first year in office. He has more than once offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir, which New Delhi has rejected. India has also rebuffed Trump’s offer to mediate its border feud with China.

In trying to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians, and Kosovo and Serbia, Trump picked up on efforts by past administrations. Other efforts at intervention, including getting involved in the feud over a hydroelectric dam between Egypt and Ethiopia, are entirely of his own making.

So far, none of these initiatives has borne agreements accepted by the disputing parties. Israel is on the brink of annexing about 30% of the West Bank which includes areas populated mainly by Palestinians. Meanwhile, Addis Ababa is allowing rain water to fill the Grand Ethiopia (GERD), angering Cairo officials who fear the massive hydropower dam will cut off their water supply.

FILE – This frame grab from a video obtained from the Ethiopian Public Broadcaster July 24, 2020, shows an aerial view of water levels at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba, Ethiopia. (Photo credit: VOA)

In trying to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians, and Kosovo and Serbia, Trump picked up on efforts by past administrations. Other efforts at intervention, including getting involved in the feud over a hydroelectric dam between Egypt and Ethiopia, are entirely of his own making.

So far, none of these initiatives has borne agreements accepted by the disputing parties. Israel is on the brink of annexing about 30% of the West Bank which includes areas populated mainly by Palestinians. Meanwhile, Addis Ababa is allowing rain water to fill the Grand Ethiopia (GERD), angering Cairo officials who fear the massive hydropower dam will cut off their water supply.

Honest broker?

Analysts say the president’s bid to facilitate resolution of these long-running disputes have stalled partly because he is not seen as an honest broker attempting to placate both sides in sensitive talks.

This is most apparent in the administration’s Middle East peace plan led by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, that was released in January 2020. The plan was drawn up without any Palestinian involvement and its leaders have rejected it. Critics say negotiations had a distinctive pro-Israel tilt from the start.

A negotiation is a conversation between two equal parties, said Halah Ahmad, a policy analyst with Al-Shabaka, a transnational Palestinian think tank, in an interview with VOA. “The Palestinians have not been brought to the table as an equal party in negotiations with the Trump administration, and the stipulations of the administration really cast aside international consensus and decades of U.S. foreign policy.”

In September 2019, after making a personal promise to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to mediate the feud over the Nile dam, Trump appointed U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the lead person.

Mnuchin has hosted a series of meetings between Ethiopian, Egyptian and Sudanese officials in Washington, including two in the Oval Office with Trump. The controversy is over the future of a giant hydroelectric power plant being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile tributary in the northern Ethiopia highlands. At issue is control of the flow of the Nile as Ethiopia fills up the dam’s reservoir.

But Trump’s coziness with Egypt’s Sissi, who he once referred to as “my favorite dictator” and with whom he has spoken twice this month to reiterate the U.S.’s commitment to “facilitating a fair and equitable deal” on the dam, planted doubts about Washington’s neutrality. Ultimately, Ethiopia walked out of what was supposed to be the final round of talks in February, rejecting U.S.’s “characterization” in the draft agreement, signed off by Cairo, that the negotiation on filling and operating the dam is “completed.”

The U.S.-drafted agreement gave Cairo unrealistic expectations that created difficulties in the ongoing negotiations, said Addisu Lashitew, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington research group. “It promised Egypt a legally binding treaty and a guaranteed water release from the [Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam], which Ethiopia fears will undermine its ability to use the Nile waters in the future,” Lashitew told VOA.

FILE – President Donald Trump welcomes visiting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to the White House, in Washington, April 9, 2019 (Photo credit: VOA).

/Global Conflict Mediation Proves Elusive for Trump

July 26, 2020




Sudan rejects Ethiopia’s partial Agreement proposal on filling dam

14 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

On Tuesday the Sudanese Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources announced that Sudan had rejected an Ethiopian proposal to sign a partial agreement on filling the Renaissance Dam Lake, which is expected to start next July.

In a written statement distributed to the media, the ministry announced that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok communicated to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Sudan’s position on the proposal, in correspondence that was intended as a response to a letter previously sent by the Ethiopian prime minister.

The statement added: “We consider that signing any partial agreement for the first stage cannot be approved due to the technical and legal aspects, which must be included in the in the accord first, and which are determined by the coordination mechanism, data exchange, the safety of the dam, and environmental and social impacts.”

The statement quoted Hamad Saleh, Sudan’s chief negotiator, stating: “Most of the issues are still under negotiation, the most important of which are the coordination mechanism, data exchange, the safety of the dam and environmental and social impacts that are closely related not only to the first filling of the lake, but to all the rest of the stages and long-term operations, and therefore the agreement cannot be fragmented.”

Ethiopia: Dam dispute stokes anti-Egypt feelings

In his letter, Hamdok emphasised his position on reaching a tripartite agreement between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, stressing that: “The way to reach a comprehensive agreement is the immediate resumption of negotiations.”

In 2011, Ethiopia started building a six billion US dollar-dam on the Blue Nile, the main branch of the Nile.

The Renaissance Dam raised the concerns of Sudan and Egypt, in terms of affecting their supply of the Nile water. Since that date, the three countries have entered into negotiations to agree on limiting the impact of the Ethiopian dam on both Sudan and Egypt.

Last February, Ethiopia refused to sign a proposal for an agreement submitted by the US, which was involved in the negotiations last November as a mediator alongside the World Bank Group (WBG), to solve the differences between the three countries.

Saleh pointed to a Sudanese attempt to resume negotiations with reference to “the Washington track”, explaining: “We are expecting to see the results of those contacts by resuming negotiations soon.”

/Middle East Monitor






Egypt’s letter to UNSC president about what it considers the GERD crisis

7 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu over the phone on Wednesday that Egypt sent a letter to the president of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 1 May about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis after the failure of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to reach an agreement on its filling and operation in the latest round of talks in the United States earlier this year, the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

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Why Ethiopia rejected the US-drafted GERD deal

2 Apr

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

Ethiopia Insight

After some progress in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations since the U.S. Treasury and World Bank got involved in November, the process foundered on drought-mitigation demands that Ethiopia categorically rejected.

These relate both to the filling stage of the dam, which Ethiopia says will take five to seven years, and the long-term operation phase. Ethiopians say the negotiation for long-term operation became about water sharing, which should not have been part of the agenda. Rather they wanted discussions only on the reservoir operation that is restricted to the dam’s inflows and outflows. But, after the last round of talks had run their course, the Ethiopian view was that Egypt and the U.S. proposed an un-amendable plan for permanent operation, which amounted to a “water-allocation” arrangement that effectively protects Egypt’s claimed 55.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) annual share of Nile waters.

Aspects of the proposed agreement identify releases from the GERD without considering the inflow. Whatever the amount of water flowing in, Ethiopia is expected to release some amount under the pretext of drought mitigation. This has clear similarities with a water-sharing agreement that does not alter along with rainfall that fluctuates from year-to-year. Ethiopia wants the amount released to be based on inflow into the reservoir minus evaporation and local use, without specifying figures in advance.

According to experts from Addis Ababa, the way the issue has been dealt with does not amount to drought mitigation; rather, it is mitigation of water shortage in Egypt and Sudan. Egypt prefers to call it drought for two reasons, they say. First, it wants to use this to accuse Ethiopia of causing artificial drought in Egypt. Second, it transfers the responsibility for mitigation to Ethiopia. Otherwise, how can drought happen in the middle of the desert, the experts ask. If it was called water shortage instead, responsibility for mitigation would lie on all the three countries, with Egypt taking its fair share of responsibility.

Therefore the starting premise for the approach, negotiators from Addis claim, is that Ethiopia is obliged to mitigate downstream shortages, with no corresponding obligation on those countries to assist by, for example, applying water-saving technology, planting less water-consuming crops, or shifting their economies from agriculture to the industrial and service sectors. Furthermore, the agreement obliges Ethiopia to release the so-called ‘natural flow’; thus ignoring Ethiopia’s future upstream water uses for water supply, filling hydropower dams, or irrigation.

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የህዳሴ ግድብ ተደራዳሪዎች ጫና እንደነበረባቸው በውይይት መድረክ ላይ ገለጹ

20 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

የህዳሴ ግድብ የውኃ አሞላልና አለቃቀቅን በተመለከተ እየተደረገ በሚገኘው ድርድር ጫና እንደ ደረሰባቸው ኢትዮጵያን ወክለው የሚደራደሩት የሕግና የቴክኒክ ባለሙያዎች፣ በጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ጽሕፈት ቤት በበተደረገ የውይይት መድረክ ላይ ገለጹ።

ሰኞ የካቲት 9 ቀን 2012 ዓ.ም. በጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር ጽሕፈት ቤት አዳራሽ በተካሄደው የውይይት መድረክ ላይ የተገኙት የኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪ ቡድን አባላት፣ በአሜሪካና በዓለም ባንክ አመቻችነት የህዳሴ ግድቡን የውኃ አሞላል አስመልክቶ እየተካሄደ የሚገኘው ድርድር፣ ኢትዮጵያን የሚጠቅም ሂደት ነው ብለው እንደማያምኑ መናገራቸውን የሪፖርተር ምንጮች ገልጸዋል።

ውይይቱን እንዲከታተሉ የተወሰኑ የመንግሥት የመገናኛ ብዙኃን ብቻ ተጠርተው የነበረ ቢሆንም፣ ውይይቱ ከተጀመረ በኋላ የውይይቱን ይዘቶች እንዳያስተላልፉ መመርያ እንደተሰጣቸው ተሰምቷል።

ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ የውይይት መድረኩን ከከፈቱ በኋላ ጥሪ እንደ ተደረገላቸው ሌሎች ተሳታፊዎች በታዳሚነት የተከታተሉ መሆኑን የገለጹት ምንጮች፣ መድረኩ ከተከፈተ በኋላም የውሃ፣ መስኖና ኢነርጂ ሚኒስትሩ ስለሺ በቀለ (ዶ/ር) ሁለት ሰዓት የፈጁ የድርድሩን ሂደትና ይዘት የተመለከቱ የቴክኒክና የሕግ ጉዳዮች ላይ ገለጻ ማድረጋቸውን ምንጮች ለሪፖርተር ጠቁመዋል። ሚኒስትሩ ገለጻቸውን ካጠናቀቁ በኋላ የኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪ ቡድን አባላት አስተያየት እንዲሰጡ መጋበዛቸውን፣ የድርድሩ ሂደትም በአሜሪካ መንግሥት በተወከሉ ታዛቢዎች ጫና ይደረግባቸው እንደነበር ይፋ ማድረጋቸውን ምንጮች ገልጸዋል።

የአሜሪካ መንግሥትን ወክለው ድርድሩን የሚታዘቡ ኃላፊዎች በተለያዩ አጋጣሚዎች፣ ‹‹ኮንሲኩዌንስ (ችግር) ያመጣባችኋል›› በማለት በኢትዮጵያ ቡድን አባላት ላይ ጫና ያደርጉ እንደነበር፣ በግልጽ ለመድረኩ መናገራቸውን ምንጮች አስረድተዋል።

በዚህና መሰል ጉዳዮች ምክንያትም የግብፅ ተደራዳሪዎች የዐባይ ውኃን በተመለከተ፣ ግብፅ ዳግም የበላይነት መቆጣጠር እንዳለባት የሚያመላክቱ አቋሞችን ያራምዱ እንደነበር፣ ተደራዳሪዎቹ ለመድረኩ እንዳስረዱ ከምንጮቹ ገለጻ ለመረዳት ተችሏል።

በግብፅና በኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪዎች መካከል መጥበብ ያልቻሉ የልዩነት ነጥቦች ናቸው ያሏቸውን ለመድረኩ ያቀረቡ ሲሆን፣ ኢትዮጵያ ወደ ዳሴ ግድቡ የሚመጣውን የጥቁር ዐባይ የውኃ መጠን መሠረት ያደረጉ ነጥቦችን ስታነሳ፣ የግብፅ ተደራዳሪዎች ግን የጥቁር ባይ አጠቃላይ የተፈጥሮ ፍሰትን የድርደሩ መሠረት በማድረግ የግድቡ አሞላል እንዲወሰን መጠየቃቸውን፣ የኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪዎች በዋነኝነት ማንሳታቸውን ከምንጮች ለመረዳት ተችሏል።

በዚህም ምክንያት እየተደረገ ያለው ድርድር ኢትዮጵያን የሚጠቅም ደት ነው ብለው እንደማያምኑ ለመድረኩ እንዳስታወቁ ምንጮቹ አስረድተዋል። የውይይት መድረኩ ለግማሽ ቀን ብቻ የተያዘ በመሆኑ ሌሎች ጥሪ የተደረገላቸው ምሁራን፣ ሚኒስትሮችና ታዋቂ ሰዎች ጥያቄዎችን እንዳላነሱ ነገር ግን ውይይቱ ከቀናት በኋላ በዝርዝር ጉዳዮች ላይ በስፋት እንዲቀጥል መወሰኑን ገልጸዋል።

የው፣ መስኖና ኢነርጂ ሚኒስትሩ ስለሺ (ዶ/ር) ከሳምንት በፊት ሰጥተውት በነበረ ጋዜጣዊ መግለጫ ላይ በድርድሩ ጫና ተሰምቷቸው እንደሆነ ቀርቦላቸው ለነበረ ጥያቄ፣ ‹‹አዎ፣ ጫናዎች መኖራቸው አይቀርም። ጫናዎች በእኛ ተደራዳሪዎች ላይ ነበሩ፣ በሌሎች አገሮች ተደራዳሪዎች ላይም ነበሩ፤›› የሚል ምላሽ ሰጥተው ነበር።

ለሥራ ጉብኝት ወደ ኢትዮጵያ የመጡት የአሜሪካ የውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር  ማይክ ፖምፒዮ ከኢትዮጵያ አቻቸው አቶ ገዱ አንዳርጋቸው ጋር በመሆን ማክሰኞ የካቲት 10 ቀን 2012 ዓ.ም. በሰጡት መግለጫ፣ የዳሴ ግድብ ድርድርን በተመለከተ አገራቸው ጣልቃ እንደማትገባና ሦስቱም ተደራዳሪ አገሮች ልዩነቶቻቸውን በራሳቸው መንገድ እንዲፈቱ እንደምትፈልግ ገልጸዋል።




ስለ ድርድሩ፣ ከተደራዳሪዎቹ ባሻገር—ዋዜማ ራዲዮ

19 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

በመስፍን ነጋሽ [ከዋዜማ ራዲዮ]

ኢትዮጵያ፣ ሱዳን እና ግብጽ በሕዳሴ ግድብ የውሃ አሞላል ላይ ለመነጋገር የጀመሩት ድርድር ወደ መቋጫው እየደረሰ ይመስላል። ድርድሩ ሳይቋጭ ቢቀር የሚመኙ ኢትዮጵያውያን ቁጥር ጥቂት ባይሆንም፣ ያለንበት ሁኔታ ድርድርን አንጠልጥሎ ለመተው የሚያስችለን አይመስልም። የአሜሪካው ውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስትር አዲሳባ የመጡትም “ድርድሩን ቋጩ” ብለው ጫና ለማሳደር ነው። እንዲያውም አሜሪካና የዓለም ባንክ ያዘጋጁትን የስምምነቱን “የመጨረሻ” ረቂቅ ይዘው መጥተዋል። ይህን ጽሑፍ ባሰፈርኩበት ምሽት፣ አዲሳባ ላይ፣ የኢትዮጵያ ቁልፍ ተደራዳሪዎች የአሜሪካው ልዑክ ይዞት የመጣውን የስምምነት ሰነድ በግራ መጋባትና በእልህ ሲመረምሩና ሲመክሩ ነበር።

በቅርብ ሳምንታት በዋዜማ ሬዲዮ እና በሌሎችም በኩል በአዲሳባ፣ በካይሮ፣ በካርቱም እና በዋሺንግተን ዲሲ ሲካሄዱ የሰነበቱትን ድርድሮች በማስመልከት የወጡት ዘገባዎች ሂደቱ ውስብስብ መሆኑን የሚያስጠነቅቁ ነበሩ። ዘገባዎቹ የድርድሩን ውጤት በዋናነት የሚቀርጹት በጠረጴዛ ዙሪያ የተሰበሰቡ ባለሞያዎች እውቀትና አርበኝነት ሳይሆኑ (ሀ) የኢትዮጵያ እና የግብጽ ውስጣዊ ሁኔታ፣ (ለ) ቀጣናዊ የፖለቲካና የዲፕሎማሲ አሰላለፎች እና (ሐ) ወቅታዊ ዓለም አቀፍ አጀንዳዎች የሚቀርጹት ቁመናች መሆናቸውን ደጋግመው ያስታውሳሉ። ሆኖም ተደራዳሪዎቹን እና ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩን በአርበኝነት ስሜት ወይም/እና በእውቀት መጉደል የሚጠረጥሩ፣ የሚወቅሱ፣ የሚከሱ ድምጾች ሞልተዋል።

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የዐቢይ መንግሥት በኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪዎች የተነሱ ጉዳዮች በህዳሴ ግድቡ የስምምነት ሰነድ እንዲካተቱ አሜሪካን አሳሰበ ይላል ሪፖርተር! ምነው ይህ አሁን?

14 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት በህዳሴ ግድቡ ዙሪያ እየተካሄደ የሚገኘውን ድርድር ለሚታዘቡት የአሜሪካ የገንዘብ ተቋም ኃላፊ በጻፈው ደብዳቤ፣ የኢትዮጵያን ጥቅም አስመልክቶ የተነሱ ጉዳዮች በረቂቅ የስምምነት ሰነድ ውስጥ ሊካተቱ እንደሚገባ አሳሰበ።

የውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር የድንበርና ድንበር ተሻጋሪ ሀብቶች ዳይሬክቶሬት ዋና ዳይሬክተር አቶ ተመሥገን ዑመር ባለፈው ሳምንት መጨረሻ ለአሜሪካ የገንዘብ ተቋም በጻፉት ደብዳቤ፣ በታላቁ የህዳሴ ግድብ የውኃ አሞላልና አለቃቀቅ በኢትዮጵያ፣ በግብፅና በሱዳን መካከል እየተካሄደ ባለው ድርድር እስካሁን መግባባት የተደረሰባቸው ጉዳዮችን በተመለከተው የስምምነት ሰነድ ውስጥ፣ በኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪ ቡድን የተነሱ ጉዳዮች ሙሉ በሙሉና ዓውዱን ጠብቀው ሊካተቱ እንደሚገባ አሳስበዋል።

የውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር ይኼንን ደብዳቤ ለመጻፍ መነሻ የሆነው ድርድሩን የሚታዘበው የአሜሪካ የገንዘብ ተቋም እስካሁን ስምምነት የተደረሰባቸውን ጉዳዮች ያመላከተ ሰነድ፣ እ.ኤ.አ. ፌብሯሪ 3 ቀን 2020 ለውጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስቴር መላኩ ነው።

በኢትዮጵያ ተደራዳሪዎች የተነሱት ጉዳዮች የኢትዮጵያ ፅኑ አቋሞች እንደሆኑና በስምምነት ሰነዱ ውስጥ በተገቢው መንገድ ሊካተቱ እንደሚገባ የሚገልጸው ደብዳቤው፣ በጉዳዮቹ ላይ የሚነሳ ጥያቄ ካለ በቀጣይ መድረኮች ተጨማሪ ውይይት ሊደረግባቸው እንደሚችልና ለዚህም ኢትዮጵያ ዝግጁ መሆኗን ያመለክታል።

ሊካተቱ ይገባቸዋል በማለት ከጠቀሳቸው ጉዳዮች መካከል አንዱ የውኃ ትነትን የሚመለከት ሲሆን፣ በከባድ የድርቅ ወቅት ከህዳሴ ግድቡ የሚለቀቀው ውኃ ጉዳትን በመቀነስ መርህ (Release-Based Mitigation) ሊሆን ይገባል የሚለው ደግሞ ሌላኛው ነጥብ ነው።

እስካሁን በተካሄደው ድርድር ስምምነት ከተደረሰባቸው ጉዳዮች መካከል፣ ለድርቅ ወቅትና ለከባድ የድርቅ ወቅት የተሰጡት ትርጓሜዎች ይገኙበታል። ለእነዚህ ጉዳዮች የተሰጠው ትርጓሜ ወደ ህዳሴ ግድቡ የሚመጣውን የውኃ መጠን መሠረት ያደረገ ነው።

በዚህም መሠረት ወደ ግድቡ የሚደርሰው የውኃ መጠን 37 ቢሊዮን ሜትር ኪዩብ ከሆነ የድርቅ ወቅት አመላካች እንደሚሆን፣ ወደ ግድቡ የሚደርሰው የውኃ መጠን 31 ቢሊዮን ሜትር ኪዩብና ከዚያ በታች ከሆነ ደግሞ የከባድ ድርቅ ወቅት አመላካች እንደሆነ ስምምነት መደረሱን የውኃ መስኖና ኢነርጂ ሚኒስትሩ ስለሺ በቀለ (ዶ/ር) የሰጧቸው መግለጫዎች ያመለክታሉ።

ሚኒስትሩ ባለፈው ሳምንት በሰጡት መግለጫ ደግሞ ኢትዮጵያ በአሜሪካ በተካሄደው የመጨረሻ ድርድር ወቅት ወሳኝ ነጥቦችን በማንሳት፣ ሰፊ ክርክር ተደርጎባቸው ተቀባይነት እንዳገኙ ገልጸው ነበር።


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ታዛቢነት፣ ሽምጋይነት ወይስ ቀጭን መመሪያ አፍሳሺነት?

12 Feb

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

በመርሃ ጽድቅ መኮንን ዐባይነህ


Cairo’s goal is to make Egypt owner of the Nile waters, while Ethiopia has been contributing 86 percent of the water to the longest river in the world, the Nile River.



The New York Times wallows in confusion, when it falsely portrayed Egypt’s past control of the Nile waters. I feel sorry for NYT, once my hometown paper.  It mis-adventurously wrote: “For Thousands of Years, Egypt Controlled the Nile. A New Dam Threatens That.”

Past Egyptian attempts up until the last quarter of the 19th century, unlike the understanding of The New York Times, was characterized by none of the sorts, possibly save Egypt persistently conspiring against Ethiopia. I am surprised a major newspaper should find itself in such awkward position.

The fact is on November 16, 1875, Ethiopian forces defeated Egyptians at the Battle of Gundet. Those who survived fled for their life. Come March 8-9, 1876, in an act of revenge, Egypt invaded Ethiopian position from its Red Sea post of Gura, according to historical records. Egypt faced the same fate, i.e., its force were routed out.

Given this, if the past is any guide to win-win solution to Egypt’s arid nature, the win-win solution is sharing the waters of the Nile River, in accordance with the 1997 first international water lawand a relief.

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