Today, Sunday, Egypt announced its rejection of Ethiopia's announcement to start operating the Renaissance Dam unilaterally, considering that this is a further attempt by Ethiopia to violate its obligations under the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement.

This came in a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, commenting on the announcement by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abi Ahmed, earlier on Sunday, to start the electricity generation project on the Renaissance Dam, without addressing the Egyptian rejection of his position on generating electricity.

It was not possible to obtain an immediate comment from Addis Ababa, but the latter usually says that it does not aim to harm Cairo or Khartoum, which criticize the failure to reach an agreement on the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam despite nearly a decade of negotiations between them.

The statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected the unilateral start (of Ethiopia) in the operation of the Renaissance Dam, after the previous unilateral start of the first and second stages of filling the dam (in the summer of the past two years).

He added that Egypt confirms that this step is a further effort on the part of Ethiopia in violating its obligations under the Agreement on the Declaration of Principles (regulating disputes over the dam) in 2015, signed by it.

Electricity production from the dam

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abi Ahmed, had officially inaugurated the first phase of electric power production from the Renaissance Dam, 7 months after the completion of the second filling of the dam's reservoir.

One turbine has been operated to generate electricity with a capacity of 350 megawatts out of 13 turbines, and it is expected to be fully operational during the next two years, with a capacity of about 6 thousand megawatts.

Today, Africa's largest power plant, the GERD's first turbine began generating power.

This is a good news for our continent & the downstream countries with whom we aspire to work together.

As Ethiopia marks the birth of a new era, I congratulate all Ethiopians!

— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) February 20, 2022

In his speech, Abi Ahmed said that water will flow to Egypt and Sudan, stressing that no harm will be done to either of them. The Ethiopian Prime Minister also called on Egypt and Sudan to work together for the strategic partnership to achieve development for the three countries, as he put it.

He added that the goal of the dam is to develop and bring 60 million Ethiopians out of complete darkness, and all that was said that Ethiopia seeks to prevent the flow of water is untrue, and we will not allow the people to thirst or starve, he said.

During the second stage of filling the dam, which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, Ethiopia stored more than 13.9 billion cubic meters of water, compared to 4.5 billion cubic meters in the first stage of filling, which took place in July 2020.

On July 5, 2021, Ethiopia notified the downstream countries of the Nile, Egypt and Sudan, to start the process of a second filling of the dam with water, without reaching a tripartite agreement, which Cairo and Khartoum rejected, as a unilateral measure.

Egypt and Sudan are committed to first reaching a tripartite agreement on filling and operating the dam to ensure the continued flow of their annual share of the Nile waters, while Ethiopia asserts that it is seeking to remedy its energy shortage crisis.

Egypt and Sudan exchange accusations with Ethiopia of being responsible for the failure of the dam negotiations, sponsored by the African Union for months, within a negotiating track that began about 10 years ago, due to differences over construction, operation and filling.