July 6, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – Ethiopia has begun the unilateral second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Tuesday said the two downstream countries, 24 hours before a meeting of the UN Security Council over the issue.
In two separate statements released in Khartoum and Cairo, the irrigation ministries said they had been notified of the start of the second filling of the GERD reservoir targeting 13.5 billion cubic metres.
“The Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry received a letter from its Ethiopian counterpart notifying it has started the second filling of the GERD,” said a statement by Omer-Alfarouq Kamel the Sudanese negotiating delegation on Tuesday.
“This notification is futile without negotiation and agreement on filling and operation of the dam. We reiterate that the final binding agreement is the only proof of the Ethiopian desire to cooperate,” Kamel stressed.
The non-surprising filling intervenes as the Sudanese irrigation minister told reporters on Monday that they had anticipated the move and took some precautionary measures to mitigate the negative impact of the operation.
The minister disclosed they were monitoring the construction by satellite and it had become clear for them since last May that Addis Ababa would launch the second filling in July.
The Sudanese official stressed the threat that the giant GERD dam represents for the small Roseires Dam on the Blue Nile located at 100 km from the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa.
In New York, Sudanese and Egyptian foreign ministers issued a joint statement stressing their rejection of the unilateral second filing of the GERD.
The two ministers agreed to continue mobilising the Security Council members to support their demand for a binding agreement on the filing and operation of the GERD, brokered by a mediation led by the African Union with the participation of the EU, UN U.S., and South Africa.
They further underscored that the unilateral filling represents “new evidence of Ethiopia’s insistence” to behave unilaterally in a way that threatens the safety of the Sudanese dams and human security in both Sudan and Egypt.
The Security Council will discuss the issue on Thursday 8 July.
Condemn Arab league says Ethiopia
According to a statement released in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian foreign minister requested the Security Council to condemn the Arab League’s meddling in the GERD dispute.
Ethiopia is “disappointed by the Arab League for addressing the UN on a matter that does not fall within its purview,” reads the statement
Also, the Ethiopian news agency reported that the Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S plans to demonstrate in New York to oppose the Security Council meeting on the GERD.
Washington calls to avoid unilateral action
Ned Price, U.S. State Department Spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday that his country supports collaborative and constructive efforts to reach an arrangement on the GERD.
“We do call on all parties to refrain from unilateral action, any unilateral action, that would raise those tensions, that would put greater distance between where we are now and a peaceful, constructive resolution to this,” he stressed.