Sudan Says Ethiopia Has Denied Filling The Renaissance Dam Reservoir

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said Ethiopia has confirmed that news reports claiming that it had started filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir on the Blue Nile were false, reported Reuters.

Ethiopia’s Charge d’Affaires Mekonnen Gossaye clarified about the incorrect reports in a meeting with Babaker al-Amin, a senior official of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, in Sudan’s capital Khartoum.

Gossaye reaffirmed that Ethiopia had not closed the gates of the dam and the buildup of water was a natural process due to the current rainy season. He reassured that his country is still willing to continue the ongoing negotiations between Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt on the $5 billion project. Ethiopia’s state-owned broadcaster also apologized for its “erroneous” reporting on Thursday.

The issue got a spark after Ethiopia’s Water Minister, Seleshi Bekele, said on Wednesday that the construction of the dam and the filling of the water go hand in hand.

“The filling of the dam doesn’t need to wait until the completion of the dam,” he added. “The filling of the dam doesn’t need to wait until the completion of the dam.”

Earlier this week tripartite talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to regulate the flow of water from the dam failed to reach a deal.

While Egypt and Sudan both fear the $4 billion hydroelectric dam could lead to water shortages in their own nations, Ethiopia maintains that the dam will generate electricity and boost development in the country. The GERD’s construction is expected to finish by 2023.

Egypt is concerned that the dam will restrict its already limited Nile waters share. The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile from which Egypt gets 90% of its fresh water.

Egypt’s foreign ministry also called out Ethiopia on Wednesday for urgent clarification on whether it had started filling the reservoir.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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