The Egyptian Presidency announced that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed to postpone the release of a giant dam built by Ethiopia on the Nile, subject to a conflict between the three countries.
While Ethiopia had announced its intention to fill the reservoir for the Great Renaissance Dam (Gerd), the Egyptian Presidency finally announced on Friday 26 that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had agreed to postpone the release of this gigantic Nile structure.
“A legally binding final agreement to prevent unilateral measures, including the release of the dam, will be sent to the UN Security Council for its meeting on Monday on the issue of the Great Renaissance Barrage,” said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi’s services.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said in a statement that it had “agreed that the filling of the dam should be postponed until an agreement was reached”. His services said that technical assignments from the three countries would set up an agreement within two weeks.
“Sudan is one of the main beneficiaries of the dam, but also one of the major losers if the risks are not limited, which is why it reminds Egypt and Ethiopia of the absolute need to find a solution,” Abdalla Hamdok added.
This progress came after an emergency meeting and video conference from the African Union Executive Council, chaired by South African Head of State Cyril Ramaphosa. Tensions had recently increased between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt, while Ethiopia had announced its intention to fill the reservoir for the Great Renaissance Dam (Gerd), following the failure of tripartite negotiations.
Egypt, which sees the project as an “existential” threat, called on the Security Council last week to intervene. A new council meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday.
While Ethiopia sees the 145-meter-high dam as crucial for its development and electrification, Sudan and Egypt fear it will restrict their access to water. The Nile, which runs over approximately 6,000 km, is an important source of water and electricity for a dozen countries in East Africa. Egypt receives 97% of its water demand from this river.