Ethiopia to respond to Egyptian complaint on Nile dam

Ethiopia to respond to Egyptian complaint on Nile dam

Trilateral talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt stalled in February

Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

(aa)—Ethiopia has prepared a comprehensive response to a complaint by Egypt about the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a top government official said.

Seleshi Bekele, the minister of water, irrigation and energy, briefed senior government officials on Monday about recent developments surrounding the dam, the state-run Ethiopian News Agency reported.

Egypt submitted the complaint to the UN Security Council last week as part of a massive international campaign to stop Ethiopia from filling the $5-billion hydro dam on the Nile.

Egypt claims the dam would reduce the flow of Nile waters downstream while Ethiopia maintains it needs the dam for national development as well as regional electricity interconnection.

Ethiopia started this mega dam project realizing that meeting electricity infrastructure is critical to the sustainable development of a country, Seleshi said.

The minister pointed out that filling of the dam will be managed without causing significant harm to the downstream countries; and Ethiopia respects the fair and rational water management guideline.

According to Seleshi, Ethiopia has prepared a comprehensive document that provides sufficient response for the complaint Egypt has submitted to the UN.

The downstream riparian countries have been given sufficient briefings and explanations beginning from the start of the construction of the dam, he said, adding that “the questions raised not only contradict the rights of the country to development but also lack scientific basis.”

Even if Ethiopia has been conducting discussions with experts, ministers, and even leaders of the downstream countries since 2012, the negotiations have not resulted in agreement.

Latest US sponsored talks broke down in February after Ethiopia said the US sided with Egypt.

Currently, the civil work of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has reached 87% and the total construction 73%.

Ethiopia launched the construction of the dam in 2011.