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GERD will be symbol of regional cooperation: says Ethiopian premier


Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed speaks during the signing ceremony of democratic transition in Sudan on 17 August 2019 (ST photo)July 22, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be an icon of cooperation between the riparian countries.

Abiy on Thursday issued a statement in Arabic addressed to the Sudanese and Egyptian people two days after a call by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok for a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the giant dam after the completion of the second filling.

The Ethiopian premier said he fulfilled his previous promise that the filling would take place during the wet season to reduce the flooding in the downstream countries.

"I would like to assure you once again that this filling will not cause any harm to any of our countries, and the GERD will remain a real gain and a symbol of mutual cooperation and development," he stressed.

The debate between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia over the GERD has become no more than a dialogue of the deaf since each party is unresponsive to what the others say.

On Tuesday, Hamdok said his government will continue to spear no effort to persuade Ethiopia to sign a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of the huge hydropower dam located near its border.

Sudanese officials said the filling affects some 20 million people in the downriver basin and threatens the safety of the small Roseires Dam.

Egypt will be not be affected by the filling as such but officials expressed fear the lack of agreement would affect the amount of water they receive in the future.

The recent meeting of the UN Security Council has shown the limitations of the international community to resolve the conflict while the African Union has no leverage to broker a deal as was evidenced by the South African and Congolese mediations.

According to the previously announced plans, the second filling allowed Ethiopia to store 13.5 bcm, in addition to 4.9 bcm in the first filling of July 2020.

However, the Egyptian media published reports claiming that Ethiopia has stored only 3 bmc instead of the planned 13.5. The Egyptian experts attributed this partial filling to the failure to raise the wall of the GERD middle corridor.

The height of the dam wall, at the middle corridor, has only been increased by 8 meters while the initial target was 30 meters, said Abbas Sharaki in statements widely published by the official Egyptian media.

Other experts explained that the huge flooding prevented Ethiopia from continuing the works.


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