CAIRO, Mar 4 (NNN-MENA) – Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry said, Ethiopia cannot start filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), until “an agreement is reached with the downstream countries.”
“Egypt desires to see Ethiopia follow the path of negotiations,” Shoukry said, in an interview with the Egyptian TV Programme, “9 O’Clock PM.”
“If Ethiopia fills the GERD without consensus among the participant parties, the filling will be considered as deviation from the negotiations path and contradicts with the rules of international law,” Shoukry said.
He explained that Ethiopia had pledged in the Declaration of Principles, signed between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, in Mar, 2015, not to start filling the dam until an agreement was reached.
He highlighted that no side, based on the rules of international law and the Declaration of Principles, is allowed to take unilateral decisions, regarding trans-boundary rivers.
Ethiopia, an upstream Nile Basin country, started building the GERD in 2011, while downstream Egypt is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-metre annual share of Nile water.
Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic metres, may take several years. Egypt seeks to prolong the period to avoid the negative effects of water shortage, which is a main point of their talks.
The GERD is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydro-power dam upon completion.– NNN-MENA