Ethiopia informed US Special Envoy for Sudan Ambassador Donald Booth of its declared positions on the talks over the mega dam it is building on the Blue Nile.
Addis Ababa will go ahead with the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD) reservoir in the upcoming rainy season in July as planned, said the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen.
Spokesperson for Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry Ambassador Dina Mufti during a weekly press conference on Tuesday that Mekonnen met with Booth and briefed him on his country’s positions on GERD and the border dispute with Sudan.
Ethiopia contributes 86 percent of the water share of the Nile River, yet 60 percent of its citizens still live in darkness, and Ethiopia aims to change this once it finishes the construction of the dam, which will generate power, Mufti quoted Mekonnen as saying.
Ethiopia has legal and sovereign right to use the Nile water for development fairly and equitably, he stressed, affirming that it has no interest in harming the lower Nile Basin countries.
According to the Foreign Ministry’s official Facebook page, the filling of the dam is part of the overall construction project.
Sudan has been provided with the necessary information on the second filling and reassured about the impact on its water facilities, Mufti noted.
Mekonnen told Booth that Ethiopia has always been committed to resolving issues through negotiations, in a way that addresses Khartoum and Cairo’s concerns.
He stressed his country’s keenness to sustaining the African Union-led talks under the chairmanship of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Furthermore, Mekonnen reiterated Addis Ababa’s position on the Egyptian-Sudanese proposal to involve the quartet (European Union, the United Nations, the United States and the African Union) in GERD talks.
He urged the US to implement the Declaration of Principles signed by the three parties in 2015.
Addis Ababa began constructing the dam in 2011. It is now preparing to begin the second phase of filling, despite warnings from Sudan and Egypt.