Ethiopia Refutes US Statement, Reaffirms GERD Filling Will Begin Next July

By Staff Reporter

GERDFebruary 29, 2020 ( -- Ethiopia says it will commence the first filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in July this year despite US caution that the filling of the GERD should not take place without common agreement between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

In a joint statement, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia expressed disappointment over the statement issued by the US Department of Treasury on GERD released on 28 February 2020, following a meeting held without Ethiopia’s participation. Ethiopia had notified Egypt, Sudan, and the US that it needed more time to deliberate on the process.

US statement noted concerns of downstream populations in Sudan and Egypt due to unfinished work on the safe operation of the GERD, and the need to implement all necessary dam safety measures in accordance with international standards before filling begins.

Ethiopia as the owner of the GERD will commence first filling of the GERD in parallel with the construction of the Dam in accordance with the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization and the causing of no significant harm as provided for under the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles (DoP).

The statement said Ethiopia does not accept the characterization that the negotiation on the Guidelines and Rules on the First Filling and Annual Operation of the GERD (Guidelines and Rules) is completed.

According to the joint statement of the two ministerial offices, the “text” reportedly initialed by the Arab Republic of Egypt in Washington D.C. is not the outcome of the negotiation or the technical and legal discussion of the three countries.

Ethiopia made it clear that the Guidelines and Rules must be prepared by the three countries. The countries are yet to address outstanding issues pertaining to the finalization of the Guidelines and Rules, the statement noted.

“Ethiopia, with the full knowledge and agreement of Egypt and Sudan has addressed all dam safety-related issues during the International Panel of Experts process. Egypt and Sudan had expressed their appreciation under Principle 8 of the DOP and Ethiopia will continue to implement it in good faith,” the statement reads.

Ethiopia is committed to continuing its engagement with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Republic of Sudan to address the outstanding issues and finalize the Guidelines and Rules on the first filling and annual operation of the GERD, the statement added.

Ethiopia is set to fill the GERD’s reservoir step by step with a maximum period of seven years. According to the plan, the first round of filling the GERD will begin in July this year.

Egypt, however, claims the filling of the GERD should be done in extended time up to 21 years.

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