A Google satellite image for the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)- Egypt Today
CAIRO - 12 Jun 2021: In an official letter sent on Friday evening to the United Nations Security Council, Egypt has expressed its rejection to Ethiopia intention to continue filling the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) during the upcoming flood season due in July.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry sent the UNSC the letter, in which he voiced Egypt's total rejection of the Ethiopian approach of imposing a fait accompli on the two downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] through unilateral measures and steps that constitute an explicit violation of the applicable rules of international law, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement on Saturday.
The official letter highlighted Ethiopia’s intransigent positions that have thwarted the efforts exerted over the past months to reach a fair, balanced and legally binding agreement on the dam within the framework of African Union-brokered talks.
A complete file on the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been submitted to the UNSC to be a reference for the international community on this issue and to document Egypt’s constructive and responsible positions taken over a decade of negotiations, Hafez said.
The file also highlights Egypt’s sincere efforts to reach an agreement that takes into account the interests of three countries and preserves their water rights.
Ethiopia conducted its first filling in July 2020 with 5 billion cubic meters, and announced to conduct the second filling (13 billion cubic meters) in July 2021. The total capacity of the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters to be filled over several years [the years number is still one of the disagreements between the three countries].
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters] after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011.
In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.
In March 2021, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stated, “No one can take a drop of water from Egypt... If it happens, there will be inconceivable instability in the region that no one could imagine. This is not a threat.”
Sudan, as well has warned more than once of filling the GERD before reaching a legal binding agreement.
Ethiopia, on the other side affirms that the second filling will be conducted, despite all negotiations and mediations.