The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Ethiopia seeks to impose “a fait accompli” on Egypt and Sudan, two downstream Nile basin countries, by attempting to continue filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on their shared Nile River.
Egypt voiced its opposition to Ethiopia’s determination to carry out the second phase of filling the GERD later this year because of “the threat it poses to the interests of the Egyptian and Sudanese peoples and the impact of such unilateral measures on security and stability in the region,” said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez in a statement.
Ethiopia, an upstream country, carried out the first phase of filling the dam in July 2020 despite the concerns of Egypt and Sudan, which have repeatedly called for a prior tripartite legally binding agreement on the rule of filling and operating the controversial dam.
The statement came in response to the remarks made on Wednesday by the Ethiopian ministers of water and foreign affairs that Ethiopia would implement the second filling of the GERD in the coming rainy season starting July as scheduled.
“International rivers are a joint property of the riparian states, and it is impermissible to extend sovereignty over them or seek to monopolize them,” Hafez said.
Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the Nile water. Sudan has recently been raising similar concerns over the 4-billion-U.S.-dollar dam.
Egypt and Sudan propose forming an international quartet to be led by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), currently chairing the African Union, to help achieve a tripartite agreement over the GERD in the coming few months.
Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the GERD have been fruitless, including those first sponsored by Washington and then by the African Union.
“Egypt and Sudan have stressed the importance of an active involvement of the international community in negotiations, led and run by the DRC, through an international quartet that includes the United States, the European Union and the United Nations,” the Egyptian spokesman said in the statement.