Ethiopia Informs Washington it Will Fill GERD as Scheduled

A photo of the Blue Nile near the GERD and Ethiopian-Sudanese borders. (Reuters)
A photo of the Blue Nile near the GERD and Ethiopian-Sudanese borders. (Reuters)
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Ethiopia Informs Washington it Will Fill GERD as Scheduled

A photo of the Blue Nile near the GERD and Ethiopian-Sudanese borders. (Reuters)
A photo of the Blue Nile near the GERD and Ethiopian-Sudanese borders. (Reuters)

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.



Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel Carries Out New Raids in Gaza as Netanyahu Visits US 

This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Younis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli forces carried out new raids in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to address the US Congress.

The latest Israeli attacks destroyed homes in towns east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza and thousands of people were forced to head west to seek shelter, residents said.

The Palestinian Civil Emergency Service said it had received distress calls from residents trapped in their homes in Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis, but were unable to reach the town.

Israel's military, which is trying to eradicate the armed group Hamas after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, said it had been operating in areas from which fighters had been able to fire rockets into Israel and attack Israeli troops.

Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes in the past 24 hours had killed at least 55 people, the latest casualties in a war that health authorities in the enclave say has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians.

"Where should we go? Shall we cross into the sea?" said Ghada, who has been displaced with her family six times during the war, said from Hamas City in northwestern Khan Younis.

"We are exhausted, starved, and want the war to end now, now not an hour later. Every day means more families are wiped off the registration book," she told Reuters via a chat app.

Local residents said they had been ordered to head west towards a designated humanitarian area, but that the area was now unsafe.

Israeli forces also carried out airstrikes on several areas of central and northern Gaza Strip, killing and wounding several Palestinians, health officials said.

Residents of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, said Israeli forces had blown up several houses in the west of the city.

PALESTINIANS CRITICISE U.S.

Hamas-led fighters triggered the war on Oct. 7 by storming into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 captives, according to Israeli tallies. Some 120 hostages are still being held though Israel believes one in three are dead.

Some Palestinians who gathered at a hospital in Khan Younis before funerals criticized the United States, Israel's most important international ally, for welcoming Netanyahu.

The Israel leader was due to address Congress later on Wednesday and to meet President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet Netanyahu in Florida on Friday.

"The United States is a main partner in what is happening in Gaza. We are being killed because of the United States. We are being slaughtered by American planes, American ships, American tanks, and American troops," said Kazem Abu Taha, a displaced resident from Rafah.

A senior Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters: "The Congress invitation to Netanyahu to make a speech gives legitimacy to the crimes of the war of genocide in Gaza. Receiving a war criminal is a shame to all Americans."

Israel has rejected accusations brought by South Africa at the UN's top court that its military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide campaign against Palestinians. It has reacted angrily to a decision by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor to seek an arrest warrant against Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said this week a deal to release Israelis held captive in Gaza could be near. But Hamas officials said Netanyahu was stalling and that they had not seen any change in the Israeli stance that would allow an agreement to be reached.

Hamas wants a ceasefire agreement to end the war in Gaza. Netanyahu says the war cannot end before Hamas is eradicated.