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Egypt Reiterates Call for a Legally-binding Agreement on GERD

Egypt Reiterates Call for a Legally-binding Agreement on GERD

Tuesday, 18 January, 2022 - 07:45
Satellite image of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (AFP)

Egypt said that it is cautiously monitoring the steps Ethiopia is taking on the mega-dam it is building on the Blue Nile, warning against “harming its water interests.”

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reiterated his country’s demand that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan reach a legally-binding agreement to fill and operate the dam.

The dispute was sparked in 2011 when Addis Ababa began constructing the mega dam on the Blue Nile.

Egypt and 10 other downstream countries share the Nile basin, yet more than 85 percent of its share comes from the Blue Nile tributary in Ethiopia.

For nearly a decade, the African Union-sponsored talks between Cairo, Addis Ababa and Khartoum over its operation and filling have faltered.

According to official statements, Ethiopia prepares to celebrate the operation of its first tribune to produce 700 megawatts of electricity through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Observers said this step has a “political significance” rather than its actual return, as it represents an Ethiopian approach to taking “unilateral” steps.

In response to a question on the extent of the damage caused by Ethiopia’s move to Egypt, Madbouly said his country is following the issue via all possible diplomatic and political means.

In remarks to BBC, the Premier affirmed that Egypt is not against development anywhere in the Nile basin but will not accept actions taken by Ethiopia that could restrict its access to the Nile’s water.

“We must hold talks to reach an agreement that will benefit our peoples,” he said, noting that it is not in the interest of the three countries to have a dispute over a natural resource.

In mid-September, the UN Security Council called on the three countries to resume negotiations under the auspices of the AU, stressing the need to reach a “binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD” within a reasonable timetable.

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