The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, accused Ethiopia of further violating its commitments under the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015 through the unilateral operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
In a speech he delivered on Wednesday during the opening session of the 157th regular session of the ministerial-level sessions of the Council of the Arab League, Shoukry expressed his country’s appreciation for Arab support for the negotiating position of Egypt and Sudan on the Renaissance Dam.
“I reiterate the constants of this position, as I confirm Egypt’s refusal to Ethiopia’s unilateral start of the Renaissance Dam operation last month, which is a further persistence on the part of the Ethiopian side in violating its obligations under the 2015 Declaration of Principles agreement,” he said, pointing out that Ethiopia started filling the dam unilaterally in the past two years.
Shoukry expressed Egypt’s deep concern that these violations of Ethiopia’s obligations under international law come in light of a well-established Ethiopian policy based on the unilateral exploitation of international rivers, which has previously caused severe damage to Ethiopia’s neighbors, including Somalia.
“Egypt looks forward to the continued support of its Arab brothers and all international partners to urge Ethiopia to fulfill its obligations and show a spirit of cooperation, which would lead to reaching without delay a binding and fair legal agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam in line with the presidential statement issued by the Security Council in September 2021,” Shoukry stated.
Ethiopia announced by the end of February the start of producing electricity for the first time from GERD, despite contentions from downstream nations Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially inaugurated the partial commencing of power generation of GERD.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry slammed Ethiopia’s unilateral start of the operation of the Dam, calling it a violation of its commitments under the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
Negotiations over the GERD have officially stopped since April 2021, after Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia failed to reach an understanding before the start of the second filling of the dam, which Ethiopia implemented in July.
Cairo and Khartoum reject Ethiopia’s insistence on filling the dam before reaching a binding agreement on filling and operation.
Egypt, which relies considerably on freshwater from the Nile, has voiced fears that the GERD would negatively impact the country’s water supply.
Egypt has also insisted that measures be put into place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the dam’s filling process.
Egypt and Sudan say they want a legally binding agreement, while Ethiopia says any pact should be advisory.
The two nations consider the dam a threat to their vital water supplies, while Ethiopia considers it essential for development and doubling its electricity production.
The downstream nations fear possible blows to water facilities, agricultural land, and overall availability of Nile water.
Negotiations over the dam between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have stalled for years, with the three parties ultimately failing to reach any concrete agreement.
The disputed dam is the largest hydroelectric project in Africa, with a cost of more than four billion dollars. The construction of the dam began in 2011. It is considered to be one of Egypt’s most serious water issues.