Ethiopia has reiterated that it will begin filling the reservoir of a controversial Nile dam, which has been at the center of a decade-long dispute in East Africa, even without an agreement from Egypt and Sudan.
The construction of the $ 4.6 billion Ethiopian Renaissance Great Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, which is more than 70 percent complete and promises to provide much-needed electricity to Ethiopia’s 100 million people, has been a contentious issue. between the three basins of the Nile River. countries.
“We will continue to fill the dam next month, even if no agreement is reached,” Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew told the dpa news agency on Friday, adding that “the insistence Egypt’s control of river flow “was hampering proceedings.
A decade of arduous talks involving the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, and Ethiopia upstream have come to a standstill with Egypt resorting to the United Nations Security Council last week.
Egypt, which relies almost entirely on the Nile for its freshwater supplies, is eager to achieve a legally binding agreement that guarantees minimum flows and a mechanism to resolve disputes before the dam begins to operate.
In a letter to the Security Council on Thursday, Sudan warned that the lives of millions of people would be in danger if Ethiopia moves forward with its plan before reaching an agreement.
However, Ethiopia remains undeterred as it begins to fill the 74 billion cubic meter reservoir when the rainy season begins in July, regardless of an agreement being reached.
“It appears that political will is not shared equally, and that is why they cannot return to the negotiating table,” said Hiba Morgan of Al Jazeera, reporting from Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
Ethiopia says the project is essential for its development and insists that water supplies from downstream countries will not be affected.
“The Egyptians want us to offer a lot, but they are not ready to offer us anything. They want to control everything. We are not discussing a water sharing agreement,” Andargachew said.
Al Jazeera and news agencies