Egypt Renews Adherence to Nile River Water Rights

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed operates a second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (ENA)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed operates a second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (ENA)
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Egypt Renews Adherence to Nile River Water Rights

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed operates a second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (ENA)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed operates a second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (ENA)

Egypt has renewed its “adherence” to its water rights, a few days after Ethiopia announced completing the third filling of its mega dam reservoir and the electricity production from the second turbine without agreement from downstream countries.

Egypt and Sudan demand that Ethiopia halt the construction work at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) until reaching a legally-binding agreement on its filling and operation.

The $4.2-billion dam is ultimately expected to produce more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity, more than doubling Ethiopia's current output.

The reservoir's total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, and the target for 2021 was to add 13.5 billion, a target Ethiopia said it had met. Both countries argue that GERD will undermine their water resources.

The newly-appointed Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Hani Swailem, said Cairo’s vision is clear and seeks to maintain its water rights, while helping other African countries in general to obtain their rights as well.

In televised statements on Sunday, Swailem slammed Addis Ababa’s unresponsive stance towards Cairo’s call for cooperation, noting that he is determined to change it.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced last week that his country completed the third filling of GERD’s reservoir.

“As you see behind me, the third filling is complete,” Ahmed said from the dam site.

“Compared to last year, we have reached 600 meters, which is 25 meters higher than the previous filling,” Ahmed said Friday.

Ethiopia first began generating electricity from the GERD in February.

On Thursday, it said it had launched electricity production from the second turbine at GERD.

Currently, the two operational turbines, out of a total of 13, have a capacity to generate 750 megawatts of electricity.

Ahmed nevertheless sought to reassure Egypt and Sudan over the impact of the dam.

“When we set out to build a dam on the Nile, we said from the beginning that we did not want to make the river our own,” he said on Twitter.

“We hope that just like Ethiopia, the other gifted nations of the Nile, Sudan and Egypt, will get to utilize their share.”

He also called for negotiations to reach an understanding on the dam but insisted the third filling was not causing any water shortages downstream.

In July, Cairo protested to the United Nations Security Council against Addis Ababa’s plans to fill the GERD reservoir for a third year without agreement from downstream countries.



Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
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Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave's biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday.

The offensive, 10 months into Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as US-backed mediators sought to finalize a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7.

According to Reuters, the Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.

Both residents and rescue teams cautioned that while tanks withdrew from some areas, Israeli snipers and tanks continued to control high ground at some locations, and warned residents against trying to return to their homes in those areas.

"There are bodies scattered in the streets, dismembered bodies, there are bodies of entire families, there are also bodies inside a home of an entire family that was completely burned," Gaza Strip Civil Defense spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in comments carried by media in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Israeli military had said on Thursday that its forces were working to dismantle Hamas capabilities in Gaza City, and that it "follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm." It said the same was not true of Hamas.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said they had fought fierce battles against Israeli forces, attacking them with anti-tank rockets and mortar fire, killing and wounding many. There has been no Israeli army comment on those claims.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza's residents before the war, Gaza City was largely razed to the ground in late 2023, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have returned to homes in the ruins. Israel has once again ordered them out, though it is unclear where residents can go safely. Israel controls most of Gaza's borders and is also attacking central and southern Gaza.