Egypt affirmed in an official statement issued on Sunday that Ethiopia’s unilateral operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a violation of its commitments under the 2015 Declaration of Principles that was signed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
This came in response to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurating on Sunday one of 13 turbines of the dam, signalling the beginning of the GERD’s power generation operations.
“I congratulate the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) on the beginning of the dams power generation operations,” said Ahmed, stressing that “the benefit will be mutual and that the Nile waters will continue to flow to Egypt and Sudan.”
“We have no intention of harming Egypt and Sudan, and our relations with the two peoples are based on brotherhood.”
The Ethiopian News Agency noted that the dam’s construction is more that 80% complete.
The construction cost of the GERD amounted to more than $5bn and is of great importance to Ethiopia, especially in the generation of hydroelectric power.
Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have been negotiating since 2011 to reach an agreement on filling and operating the dam, but long rounds of negotiations between the three countries have yet to produce an agreement.
The GERD, which is located on the Blue Nile in the Bani Shanqoul-Qmez area approximately 30 km from the border with Sudan, is 1.8 km long and 145 metres high.