Ethiopia has started the second phase of filling a mega-dam’s reservoir on the upper Blue Nile, said Egypt and Sudan, raising tensions Tuesday ahead of an upcoming UN Security Council meeting on the issue.
Both Cairo and Khartoum said they had been notified by Addis Ababa that the second phase of filling had begun at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry late Monday expressed its “firm rejection of this unilateral measure” and Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday followed suit, labelling the move a “risk and imminent threat”.
In Addis Ababa, the offices of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele did not immediately respond to AFP’s requests for comment.
The huge dam, set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project when completed, has sparked an almost decade-long diplomatic stand-off between Addis Ababa and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia says the project is essential to its development, but Cairo and Khartoum fear it could restrict their citizens’ water access.
Both governments have been pushing Addis Ababa to ink a binding deal over the filling and operation of the dam, and have urged the UN Security Council to take up the matter.
Addis Ababa had previously announced it would proceed to the second stage of filling in July, with or without a deal.