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Ethiopia to Commence Filling GERD Reservoir Next July: Minister

By Staff Reporter

GERD-filling-JulyMay 11, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Tensions have gone up between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) after Egypt rejected Ethiopia’s new proposal on the filling of the dam.

Ethiopia reaffirmed that it would commence filling of the GERD’s reservoir next July during a ministerial meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday.

The water filling strategy for the dam has long been the most controversial issue and yet unresolved in the Nile talks between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

Recently, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sammy Shoukry submitted a 15-page complaint letter to the United Nations Security Council via Mohammed Endris, the Egyptian ambassador to the UN.

Cairo once again warned that Ethiopia’s move to fill the dam ahead of the tripartite agreement will potentially pose a serious threat to regional peace and security.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during a phone conversation with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, said the UN will extend the necessary support to help the countries resolve the disagreement.

According to Ethiopia’s new water filling proposal, the dam will hold 4.9 billion cubic meters of water over the first two years and another 13.5 billion cubic meters during the third year to reach 595 meters above sea level.

The nine-page proposal states that Ethiopia will cut the filling of the reservoir if the volume of water that enters into the reservoir falls below 31 billion cubic meters due to low rainfall or drought.

Briefing the high-level officials, Minister of Water Irrigation and Energy Dr, Sileshi Bekele said preparation has been finalized to commence filling of the dam next July.

He said the filling of the dam will be managed without causing harm to the downstream countries, and Ethiopia respects the fair and rational water management guidelines.

According to Sileshi, Ethiopia has prepared a comprehensive document that provides sufficient response for the complaint Egypt has submitted to the UN Security Council about the filling of GERD.

Ethiopia has been and will continue building the dam, in accordance with a Declaration of Principles (DOP) agreement signed by the three countries in 2015, he said

Egypt believes that the dam will adversely affect its share of water and its national security while the position of Sudan remained more like a mediator.

Dr. Sileshi said the overall progress of the GERD project has reached 73 percent completion, while the civil engineering works have reached 87 percent.

“Ethiopia aspires to grow and the foundation of this growth is our economic development anchored in the utilization of our natural endowments,” Prime Minister Abiy said on the occasion.

“A symbol of Ethiopia’s and Africa’s progress, we remain committed to fair and equitable usage of Nile waters for the shared economic benefits of Ethiopia and downstream riparian countries,” he added.

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