Ethiopia to Start Filling Renaissance Dam in July Despite Row
ADDIS ABABA – Government says Ethiopia will stick with its plan to fill in the reservoir of renaissance dam in July amid Egypt’s foul cry.
On Monday, GERD technical team updated top government and military personnel about the $4bn Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction progress.
During the meeting, officials will stick with the original plan to start filling the dam’s reservoir in July, with or without an agreement.
Seleshi Bekele, the minister of water, irrigation and energy, told the gathering that the filling of the dam will be managed without causing significant harm to the downstream countries.
‘Symbole of progress’
The construction of the Dam – Africa’s largest hydropower project – is about 74% complete.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Abiy said Ethiopia “aspires to grow anchored in utilization of our natural endowments”.
The PM appreciated the GERD technical team for their update presentation.
“A symbol of #Ethiopia’s & #Africa’s progress, we remain committed to fair & equitable usage of #Nile waters for shared economic benefits,” he said.
The dam has been at the center of a row between Ethiopia and Egypt from the very beginning, with Sudan caught in between.
Despite long-running negotiations, efforts to reach an amicable deal between two countries and Sudan have failed.
Egypt, which some say wants to continue the statuesque of using the river water alone, claims Ethiopia will have an unrestrained control over the water supply.
– Egypt’s Appeal to UN SC –
Last week, Cairo wrote to the UN Security Council protesting Addis Ababa’s plan to start filling the reservoir of the Dam without getting agreement from Egypt.
Ethiopia has prepared a comprehensive document that provides sufficient response for Egypt’s complaint, according to Minister Seleshi.
The downstream riparian countries have already been given sufficient briefings and explanations beginning from the start of the construction of the dam, he said, adding that “the questions raised not only contradict the rights of the country to development but also lack scientific basis”.
Even if Ethiopia has been conducting discussions with experts, ministers, and even leaders of the downstream countries since 2012, the negotiations have not resulted in an agreement.
Latest U.S.-sponsored talks broke down in February after Ethiopia said the US sided with Egypt.
Currently, the civil work of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has reached 87% and the total construction 73%.
Ethiopia, which launched the construction of the dam in 2011, expects the dam to boost its electricity production.
By EM, News Agencies
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