Ethiopia announced on Saturday that it will begin filling the container with its giant Nile dam “within the next two weeks”. However, Addis Ababa has promised to try to conclude a final agreement with Egypt and Sudan under the auspices of the African Union.
Negotiations continue around the large renaissance dam (Gerd) on the Nile. Ethiopia announced on Saturday, June 27, that it intends to begin filling the container in its giant pond “for the next two weeks”, while pledging to try, under the auspices of the African Union, to finalize an agreement with Egypt and Sudan, worried about the consequences of the project.
The statement issued on Saturday morning by the office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed partially contradicted the statements, the peaceful evenings, from the Egyptian and Sudanese leaders, and assured that Ethiopia had agreed to postpone the release of its dam to reach an agreement.
Ethiopia sees the 145-meter-high dam – which will become the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa with a production capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts – as crucial for its development and electrification. Sudan and Egypt fear it will limit their access to water.
Egypt, which sees the project as an “existential” threat, last week called on the UN Security Council to intervene. A new council meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday.
On Friday, the leaders of the three countries met during a video conference organized and chaired by South African Head of State Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the African Union Office.
In the evening, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi reported on a “final, legally binding agreement aimed at preventing all unilateral measures, including the release of the dam”.
The same tone on the side of Khartoum where, according to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, “it was agreed that the waste of the dam should be postponed until an agreement is reached”.
But in his statement on Saturday morning, Addis Ababa did not mention a postponement as such and seems to adhere to its schedule, while saying that it is ready to continue discussions for a final agreement.
African Union participation
Ethiopia has been reluctant to involve third parties in the negotiation process, especially after the US administration tried to mediate at the request of Egypt, which ended in February with a failure, Addis Ababa accused the United States in particular of favoring Cairo.
In his statement on Saturday, Addis Ababa welcomed the participation of the African Union in the act and reaffirmed that “African issues must find African solutions”.
The AU stated in a statement on Saturday that “90% of the issues concerning the tripartite negotiations (…) had already been resolved” and called on the countries concerned to “abstain from any declarations or measures which may complicate or undermine the AU process aimed at finding an acceptable solution to the outstanding issues. “
The Nile, which flows 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.