Egypt objects to Ethiopia’s third-year filling of the mega-Nile dam.
Egypt said Friday that it has complained to the United Nations Security Council about Ethiopian plans to fill the reservoir of a contentious Nile dam for a third year without the permission of downstream nations.
The multibillion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) on the Blue Nile is expected to be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric project, but it has been at odds with Egypt and Sudan since construction started in 2011.
According to a foreign ministry statement, Egypt “received a notification from the Ethiopian side on July 26 saying that Ethiopia will continue filling the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam throughout the current flood season.”
Egypt responded by writing to the UN Security Council “to convey its protest and utter rejection of Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of the Renaissance Dam without a treaty.”
Egypt retains its “legal right… to take all necessary steps to guarantee and defend its national security, including against any threats that Ethiopia’s unilateral acts may bring in the future,” according to the ministry.
Addis Abeba regards the Gerd as critical to the electricity and growth of Africa’s second-largest nation.
However, Cairo and Khartoum are concerned that it could jeopardize their access to essential Nile resources and have sought a formal agreement between the three nations on the dam’s construction and management.
The $4.2-billion (3.7-billion-euro) dam is planned to provide more than 5,000 megawatts of energy, more than tripling Ethiopia’s current production. The first of 13 turbines started producing electricity in February.
The process of filling the massive reservoir of the Gerd started in 2020, with Ethiopia reporting in July of that year that it had fulfilled its aim of 4.9 billion cubic meters.
The reservoir’s entire capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, with a goal of 13.5 billion added by 2021, which Ethiopia announced it has fulfilled.
Mike Hammer, the new US ambassador for the Horn of Africa, arrived in Ethiopia on Friday for discussions that were likely to involve the dam conflict. On Monday, the envoy met with Egyptian officials.
“We are actively involved in supporting a diplomatic path ahead under the auspices of the African Union that leads to an agreement that meets the long-term requirements of every people along the Nile,” he added.
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