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Anger after Ethiopian dust report

Published on 2023-09-10 20:32

2020 satellite image of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.  Archive photo.

Ethiopia says it has filled the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

The mission sparked immediate Egyptian anger.

Addis Ababa’s announcement of the filling of the giant dam came only two weeks after the start of new negotiations between the three parties concerned to find a solution to the conflict.

In addition to Ethiopia and Egypt, Sudan is also affected by the dam.

Negotiations were halted in 2021 due to disagreements, but have just resumed.

Critics fear that the dam, whose construction cost is equivalent to 45 billion Swedish krona, will affect the flow of Nile water. The regime in Ethiopia has been repeatedly urged not to fill the reservoir until a settlement is reached.

This did not prevent Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from announcing information on Sunday that the dam was full of water.

“With great joy”

“I am happy to inform you that the fourth and final phase of water replenishment has been completed,” the Prime Minister wrote on social media.

“We faced many challenges and sometimes had to retreat. We faced internal challenges and external pressures,” Ahmed continued, estimating that the huge project would be completely completed next year.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded immediately on Sunday evening. In short, Egypt declared the dam “illegal.”

Cairo indicated that the “unilateral” decision taken by Addis Ababa would make future negotiations more difficult.

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Controversial issue

The issue of water availability in general is one of the most common causes of conflicts and crises in the region.

According to UN calculations, Egypt may “run out of water by 2025.” The current crisis in Sudan, and mainly in the Darfur region, relates to access to water, among other issues. In addition, Sudan is currently experiencing civil fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Ethiopia’s project to build Africa’s largest dam began in 2011, and is crucial to Ethiopia’s ambition to become Africa’s largest electricity exporter.