September 30, 2022

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Dam on the Nile: Egypt and Sudan oppose Ethiopia filling

Egypt and Sudan have rejected Ethiopia’s bid without a second phase agreement to fill the disputed Nile Dam, which risks escalating tensions ahead of a Security Council meeting on Thursday.

The Grand Renaissance Dam (GERT) built by Ethiopia on the Nile has long been the subject of fearful conflict with Egypt and Sudan over their water resources.

From Monday to Tuesday night, Egyptian Irrigation Minister Abdel Atti announced that he had informed Addis Ababa about the start of the second phase of filling.

– “Unilateral” action –

Ahead of the Security Council meeting, Egyptian Foreign Minister Same Chowkri met with his Sudanese envoy, Mariam al-Mahdi, in New York.

In a statement, they called on the Security Council to “strictly reject” the initiative to fill the dam by Addis Ababa and to “support their position on an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.”

Egypt “firmly rejects this unilateral move,” Mohammed Abdel Atti said in a statement.

He denounced the beginning of this second phase of filling as “indicating a violation of international laws and standards regulating construction projects in shared basins of international rivers”.

In Addis Ababa, the office of Prime Minister Abi Ahmed and the office of Irrigation Minister Seleshi Beckel did not immediately respond to AFP’s comments.

An Ethiopian official said the name would be filled “in July and August” anonymously. According to Ethiopia, adding water to a reservoir is a natural process, especially during the summer rainy season.

“Infil goes hand in hand with construction. If there is any rain you see in July, it should have started,” he added.

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At the request of Tunisia, a permanent member of the Council on behalf of Egypt and Sudan and a representative of the Arab world, the UN. Ethiopia opposes the meeting, but is expected to attend.

France, which chaired the Security Council in July, has already estimated that the body’s capacity to resolve the conflict is low, although the issue is being managed by the African Union.

“I do not think the Security Council can resolve the issue of the dam,” French Ambassador to the UN Nicola de Riviere told the media. “We can open the door, invite all three countries to the table, express their concerns and encourage them to return to negotiations to find a solution,” he added.

– Energy requirements –

Ethiopia, which said it would run the first phase of filling in the summer of 2020, had recently announced that it would advance to the second phase in July with or without an agreement. He says the dam is important to meet the energy needs of its 110 million people.

Sam Chowdhury recently accused Ethiopia of “adopting an uncompromising path” by reducing the chances of reaching an agreement demanded by Cairo and Khartoum, accusing it of stalling talks since April.

Sudan hopes the dam will control its annual flooding, but fears adverse consequences without agreement. Egypt, which relies on the river to supply 97% of its water, sees it as a threat to its resources.

However, the second phase of filling the reservoir will not affect the water interests of his country.

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The mega dam, with a total water capacity of 74 billion m3, has been built since 2011 in northwestern Ethiopia, near the Sudan border, on the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile. Set the Nile in Khartoum.

It is reported to have a generating capacity of about 6,500 MW and could become the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa.

LNT avec Afp