The office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed announced on Saturday that the filling and operation of the Renaissance Dam will begin within the next two weeks, in contrast, officials in Cairo and Khartoum said on Friday that the leaders of the three countries agreed that Ethiopia should not start filling the Renaissance Dam without reaching an agreement within two weeks.
The Ethiopian statement indicated that during the next two weeks, the remaining construction and engineering preparations will be completed in preparation for the filling of the dam reservoir.
This comes one day after the African Union meeting - which was held on Friday at the level of Heads of State of the Union Office - and reached a group of agreements regarding the Renaissance Dam, most notably Addis Ababa postponement of the mobilization of the dam and the return to negotiation according to an African mechanism to reach a binding agreement.
The mini-African summit was held at the invitation of South African President Cyril Ramovosa and the participation of the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdock and his Ethiopian counterpart Abi Ahmed, as well as the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his counterpart in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi and the Prime Minister of Mali Ibrahim Boubaker Kita and the President of African Union Commission Moussa Faki.
Abi Ahmed, in tweets, welcomed the results of the meeting and considered him friendly and positive, while the Ethiopian Minister of Irrigation considered the agreement a victory for the African will to resolve differences within the framework of the African House.
Fruitful discussions on African Solutions to the #GERD with the Bureau of the AU Assembly plus #Ethiopia, #Sudan & #Egypt. I appreciate @CyrilRamaphosa for his leadership in facilitating these high-level talks of continental significance. Gratitude also to @AUC_MoussaFaki. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/MnUKR4OSDE
- Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) June 26, 2020
In turn, the Ethiopian Water Minister said today, Saturday, that there will be an agreement between the three countries regarding filling the Renaissance Dam in two to three weeks.
The director of the Al-Jazeera office in Addis Ababa, Mohamed Taha Tawakol, confirmed that Ethiopia had not made any commitment not to fill the dam before the three parties reached a final agreement.
He added that the mobilization process will take place on time after a maximum of two or three weeks, and that the Ethiopian government will not stop even for a second from its plan to fill the dam of the dam, but agreed to return to negotiations in the hope of reaching an agreement on the condition that Egypt withdraw its complaint to the Security Council.
The period proposed by Ethiopia at the African Union summit - to resume negotiations of technical committees within two weeks - coincides with a previous government decision that set mid-July to start the initial mobilization, and this was adopted by all Ethiopian elites.
Ethiopia has practically started the preliminary steps to start filling Al-Nahda Dam, where forests have been removed and trees uprooted around the Al-Nahda Dam area, in which the lake will be filled on an area of one thousand hectares, and the removal process will take place with the participation of twenty thousand workers and experts, at the site of the dam, the Ethiopian region of Beni Shangul, which borders Sudan.
An African agreement
The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, said that the leaders of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt agreed that the Union would lead negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues regarding the dam crisis.
The Union is scheduled to notify the UN Security Council of the understandings between the three countries during the meeting that precedes the Security Council session scheduled for Monday to discuss the Ethiopian dam crisis.
For its part, the Egyptian presidency said that President Al-Sisi, Hamdock and Abi Ahmed agreed to form a governmental committee from the three countries with international participation, to formulate a final legal agreement binding all parties on the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam, provided that Addis Ababa would refrain from any unilateral actions, including Fill the dam before reaching this agreement.
A statement on behalf of the Egyptian presidency stated that this preliminary agreement will be sent to the Security Council for consideration when holding its session to discuss the issue of the Renaissance Dam next Monday.
For his part, the Sudanese cabinet affirmed the agreement to postpone the filling of the Renaissance Dam reservoir until after signing an agreement that preserves the interests of the three countries, and to start negotiations at the level of technical committees immediately, in order to reach an agreement within two weeks.
A vital project and
the Renaissance Dam that Addis Ababa began building in 2011 will, upon its completion, become the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa, but this vital project has sparked sharp differences between Ethiopia and both Sudan and Egypt, with which they share the Nile waters.
Although the three countries entered into negotiations on this dam, they have not yet been able to reach an agreement, especially on the rules for filling and operating the dam's reservoir.
As negotiations faltered, Addis Ababa announced its intention to start filling the Dam Lake from next July, in a step Cairo had responded by referring the file to the UN Security Council.
Ethiopia says that the electricity power expected to be generated from the Renaissance Dam, which it is building on the Blue Nile, is of vital importance in order to push development projects in the poor country with a population of more than 100 million people.
But Egypt says the dam threatens the flow of the Nile waters, most of which originate from the Blue Nile, and its repercussions may be devastating to its economy, water and food resources.