Addis Ababa played down the denunciations of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed after he talked about the possibility of building 100 dams, while a Sudanese minister confirmed that the course of the negotiations ended with widening the differences between the participating parties.
In a press conference, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti said that there is no reason to be surprised by the statements of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in which he spoke about the possibility of building 100 dams in his country, considering that international laws relate to transiting rivers, while Ethiopia has rivers. Internal, not transient.
The Ethiopian News Agency quoted Abiy Ahmed as saying that his country will build more than 100 small and medium dams in the new fiscal year in different regions.
He continued, “Ethiopia also has many internal and non-transient rivers, we do not see anything in the matter if we are going to build 10 or 100 dams, and our country takes into account that the interests of neighboring countries, especially the downstream countries, will not be harmed, so negotiations for the Renaissance Dam are still underway, with the aim of ensuring that no damage is caused to the dam.” any harm to the interests of the downstream countries.”
It is noteworthy that, in response to Abi Ahmed’s statements, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said – in a statement – that “Egypt rejects what was stated in Abi Ahmed’s statements regarding Ethiopia’s intention to build a number of dams in different regions of the country.”
She stressed that this statement once again reveals Ethiopia’s bad faith and its dealings with the Nile and other international rivers that it shares with neighboring countries as if they were internal rivers subject to its sovereignty and harnessed to serve its interests.
Ended widening the differences
In the same context, the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, Yasser Abbas, said – during his meeting with the European Union team visiting Sudan – that the negotiations that took place under the umbrella of the African Union during the period from June 2020 to February of this year practically ended with the expansion of differences between the parties.
Abbas accused Ethiopia of suddenly changing its position in the course of the negotiations, and began talking about sharing water quotas, instead of filling and operating the dam, stressing that Sudan categorically rejects this. Abbas told the European delegation that Ethiopia has already taken a unilateral decision to fill in next July.
The minister indicated that Sudan has many benefits from the dam, but stressed that these benefits will turn into grave risks if a binding legal agreement is not signed, due to the proximity of the Renaissance Dam to the Sudanese Roseires Dam.
On the other hand, the Ethiopian Minister of Irrigation, Seleshi Bagli, said that “the completion of the construction of the Renaissance Dam is an obligation and not optional, to overcome poverty and solve the problems of the Ethiopian people, of whom 26 million live without clean drinking water, and 65 million without electricity.”
The minister added – during a seminar at one of the Ethiopian universities – that the completion of the dam will enable East African countries to obtain the necessary energy, and accelerate development in those countries.
He pointed out that although Egypt and Sudan are trying to impose what he described as colonial agreements on his country, Ethiopia will not accept the exploitation of its natural resources, as he put it.
On May 25, Sudan announced that Ethiopia has already started the second filling of the dam with water, about a year after the first filling, despite the Egyptian-Sudanese rejection, and the demand for a tribal agreement, and repeated Ethiopian assertion that it does not aim to harm them, and will seek to benefit from it in power and generation projects electricity.
In the strongest threat since the outbreak of the crisis 10 years ago, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on March 30 that “the Nile waters are a red line, and any harm to Egypt’s waters will have a reaction that threatens the stability of the entire region.”