Egypt complains to UN of Ethiopia’s filling of Nile dam

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on June 6, 2020 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meeting Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar (R) and the Libyan Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh in the capital Cairo. Haftar has backed a ceasefire in Libya starting Monday, Egypt’s president announced after talks in Cairo, following a series of military victories by the country’s UN-recognised government.

Cairo, June 13 (IANS) The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that it has sent a letter to the UN Security Council to reaffirm its “complete rejection” of Ethiopia’s unilateral measures on the filling of the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

The letter sent on Friday accuses Ethiopia of frustrating efforts to reach a tripartite agreement on the rules of filling and operating the dam and attempting to impose “a fait accompli” on the two downstream countries Egypt and Sudan “through unilateral measures and steps that constitute a clear violation of the rules of international law”, according to a Ministry statement issued on Saturday.

Ethiopia plans to go ahead with the second filling of the GERD in July, while Egypt and Sudan are concerned that the move might affect their share of the Nile water resources, reports Xinhua news agency.

Last week, Egyptian Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan told a virtual conference of the International Labor Organization that Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of the dam without a prior agreement would significantly harm the agriculture sector in the two downstream countries.

Decade-long negotiations failed to reach an agreement regulating the filling and operation of the dam, including those hosted earlier by the US and recently by the African Union.

Egypt and Sudan currently seek to form an international quartet that includes the African Union, the US, the European Union and the UN to mediate in the tripartite GERD talks.

But the proposal has been rejected by Ethiopia.

In February, Ethiopia said it would carry on with the second-phase 13.5-billion-cubic-metre filling of the GERD in June.

The volume of the first-phase filling finished last year was 4.9 billion cubic metres.

Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam project.

Egypt and Sudan, both downstream Nile Basin countries, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.

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