Ethiopia has successfully completed the second phase of filling the huge Nile Barrier that is a source of tension with its two downstream neighbors, Sudan and Egypt, an Ethiopian official announced on Monday to AFP.
“The first filling took place last year, the second is now completed and it will be officially announced today or tomorrow,” the official confirmed to AFP, on condition of anonymity, adding that the amount of stored water is now sufficient to ensure energy production.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been at odds with Sudan and Egypt, both of which depend on the Nile for their water resources, since the project was launched in 2011.
The discussions that started under the auspices of the African Union did not allow the three countries to reach a tripartite agreement on the filling of the dam and the methods of operating the water reservoirs.
Cairo and Khartoum asked Addis Ababa to postpone filling the dam until an agreement is reached.
The United Nations Security Council took up the matter on July 8 to negotiate an agreement, but Ethiopia diplomatically rejected this initiative, considering it “regrettable to note that the progress of negotiations has slowed and politicized.”
And the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said last Tuesday that “Ethiopia has clearly indicated on many occasions that bringing the issue before the United Nations Security Council was, and still is, unnecessary and far from the council’s mandate.”
In July 2020, Ethiopia announced that it had achieved its target of storing 4.9 billion cubic meters of water and planned a second phase at 13.5 billion cubic meters.
The Ethiopian official told AFP that there is now enough water to run the first two turbines in the dam, without specifying a specific date for the start of electricity production.