Ethiopia has announced it has prepared a comprehensive document in response to Egyptian complaints over Addis Ababa’s move to start filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Egypt had presented a complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 1 May against Ethiopia’s unilateral actions, as an agreement has yet to be reached between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the filling.
On Monday, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Sileshi Bekele, took part in a briefing with senior government officials on the dam’s current status.
He said that “even if Ethiopia has been referred to as the water source of Eastern Africa and most of the rivers are trans-boundary, the country has not been benefited economically”.
Bekele added that his country started constructing the GERD to meet its electricity infrastructure needs and achieve sustainable development.
“The filling of the dam will be managed without causing harm to downstream countries, and Ethiopia respects the fair and rational water management guideline,” he said according to the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).
Last week, Egypt submitted a complaint to the UN Security Council about the GERD being filled. The letter warned of the consequences of Ethiopia’s continued filling of the dam without first consulting Egypt and Sudan.
Egypt said that Ethiopia’s move destabilises the region’s peace and security, and called upon the UNSC to advise Ethiopia to sign the agreement that outlines the outcomes of Washington’s course of negotiations.
Ethiopia skipped the final meeting for negotiations that was held in US capital Washington at the end of February.
Addis Ababa justified its absence, “because the country’s delegation hasn’t concluded its consultation with relevant stakeholders”. The US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, and the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, both participated as observers at the negotiations.
Bekele said that his country has provided downstream countries with briefings and explanations since construction on the GERD was started. Ethiopia has also been involved in negotiations with Sudan and Egypt since 2012, yet an agreement remains out of reach.
Although the trilateral negotiations on the GERD had stalled after Ethiopia rejected the US-brokered agreement, Egypt kept pursuing the diplomatic route to reach comprehensive agreement over GERD filling and operation, yet, Ethiopia announced on Monday it is to start filling its mega dam in July 2020.
The civil work on the GERD has reached 87% and the total construction 73%, according to Bekele.