Ethiopia has started the next phase of filling the controversial mega-dam on the Nile River, raising tensions ahead of an upcoming UN Security Council on the issue.
Reacting to this, the Egyptian Irrigation Ministry in a statement said the move is “a violation of international laws and norms that regulate projects built on the shared basins of international rivers,” and has expressed its “firm rejection of this unilateral measure”.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project when completed, is the source of 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.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a note to the UN that negotiations are at an impasse. He accused Ethiopia of adopting “a policy of intransigence that undermined collective endeavors to reach an agreement.”
Addis Ababa had previously announced it would proceed to the second stage of filling in July, with or without a deal.