Ethiopia says 2nd dam filling on schedule despite pressures

Sarah El-Sheikh
3 Min Read
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile River raises tensions between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan

Ethiopia accused, on Saturday, internal and external forces of working to threaten its internal stability, stressing that these pressures will not prevent the second filling of the Nile Dam and upcoming elections.

The accusations came in statements issued by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed through the Ethiopian National Security Council. The statement noted that “internal and external forces [that Ahmed did not name] are working to plunge the country into conflict and chaos”.

In a meeting chaired by Ahmed, the council stressed that “despite the conspiracies and pressure exerted on us, we will carry out the process of the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the scheduled date and holding the elections”.

Ahmed added, “These plans that aim to destroy the country by supporting anti-peace groups, although they will introduce us to a great challenge, will not prevail over Ethiopia.”

The tension between Addis Ababa, on the one side, and Cairo and Khartoum on the other, have reached a critical level, with Ethiopia announcing the date for the second filling of the dam. This comes in a move that Sudan considers an imminent threat, and which Egypt fears would have a negative impact on its share of River Nile waters.

Ethiopia denies that the second filling of the GERD poses any potential damage to the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, and affirms in return that it protects Sudan from the risks of flooding.

Meanwhile, Sudan has warned it could take legal action against Ethiopia if it goes ahead with plans to fill a mega-dam on the Blue Nile without a deal.

Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Yasser Abbas also said in a Tweet that Ethiopia has raised “objections” to an invitation by his country to attend tripartite talks to discuss the controversial dam.

Earlier this month, a round of articulated negotiations failed to reach a binding agreement for the process of filling the Nile Dam under African auspices.

Sudan is pushing towards negotiations sponsored by the United Nations (UN), the US, the African Union (AU), and the European Union (EU). Egypt supports this demand, but Ethiopia opposes it.

In an effort to contain tension in the region, Washington announced the appointment of Jeffrey Feltman as a special US envoy to the Horn of Africa, stressing that the GERD file would be on his list of priorities.

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