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HomeWorldBreaking: Egypt and Ethiopia Clash Over Nile Dam Filling - Tensions Soar!

Breaking: Egypt and Ethiopia Clash Over Nile Dam Filling – Tensions Soar!

Tensions have escalated between Egypt and Ethiopia after Ethiopia announced the completion of the filling of the reservoir at a highly contentious hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile River. This megaproject, known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), has been a source of dispute since its initiation in 2011, pitting Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan. Egypt heavily relies on the Nile for nearly all its water needs.

Egypt’s foreign ministry voiced its anger, accusing Ethiopia of disregarding the interests of downstream countries. Ethiopia, however, maintains that the $4.2 billion dam will not reduce the share of Nile water for downstream nations.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared the successful completion of the fourth and final filling of the GERD, acknowledging that the project had faced both internal and external challenges. The dam began generating electricity in February 2022 and is expected to double Ethiopia’s electricity output, a significant development for a country where half of the 127-million population lacks access to electricity. The dam’s objective is to generate over 6,000 MW of electricity and is located approximately 30km (19 miles) from Sudan’s border.

Egypt and Sudan have raised concerns about the GERD’s operation, emphasizing the need for mutually agreed-upon rules, fearing that Ethiopia’s energy production could exacerbate their existing water shortages. Negotiations on the project had resumed last month after being suspended in 2021.

Sudan, currently facing conflict between rival factions, did not immediately respond to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s announcement.

In a Facebook statement, the Egyptian foreign ministry labeled Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of the reservoir as a violation of a 2015 declaration of principles signed by the three countries. Egypt deemed Ethiopia’s actions “illegal” and pointed out that the declaration of principles stipulated the necessity of reaching an agreement on the rules for filling and operating the GERD before commencing the filling process. Egypt argued that Ethiopia’s actions disregarded the interests, rights, and water security of downstream nations, as guaranteed by principles of international law.