Cairo, Egypt | XINHUA | Egypt has asked Ethiopia for an official clarification if it has started filling its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) constructed on their shared Nile River as stated in some media reports, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Egypt has requested an urgent official clarification from the Ethiopian government regarding the truth of this matter,” spokesman of Egyptian Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez pointed out.
Earlier in the day, media reports said that Ethiopia had officially announced starting filling the GERD.
Egypt continues following up the developments of what is being raised in the media in this regard, Hafez added.
Over the past few years, tripartite talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the rules of filling and operating Ethiopia’s grand hydropower dam have been fruitless, including those hosted by Washington, amid Egyptian concerns that the GERD would affect Egypt’s 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of Nile water.
The recent 11-day talks among the water ministers of the three countries, sponsored by the African Union this month, also failed to reach a tripartite agreement on running the controversial dam.
Ethiopia has recently said it would soon start filling the reservoir, while Egypt has repeatedly warned against any unilateral action without a prior tripartite agreement.
The 4-billion-dollar GERD is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion.
Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years. Egypt seeks to prolong the period of the filling process to avoid the possible impacts of water shortage, which has been a main point of their talks.