Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Minister denies claim Ethiopia is filling dam reservoir as Sudan reports low water levels and now with details
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Sudan said water levels on the Blue Nile have declined significantly as Ethiopia’s water minister denied reports that his government has begun filling a massive hydroelectric dam.
The downstream neighbour of Ethiopia said levels had reduced by 90 million cubic metres per day from an average of just under 500 million cubic metres per day and claimed the controversial Grand Renaissance dam's gates had been shut, Reuters reported.
The near-completed dam has caused severe tensions between Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan and Egypt.
After Minister Sileshi Bekele told the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday that the dam’s construction and filling “go hand in hand” and confirmed satellite images from recent days showing the dam’s reservoir swelling, media outlets reported that he said the government had begun the filling.
The minister told The Associated Press the images reflected the heavy rains and that inflow was greater than the outflow.
In a later statement, Sudan's Irrigation Ministry said it rejected any unilateral action taken by parties to the disagreement as negotiation efforts were still ongoing, Reuters reported.
The most recent round of negotiations between the three nations, hosted by the African Union, to agree a regulated flow of water from the huge hydroelectric dam failed after 11 online sessions over a fortnight.
The $4.6 billion, 6,000-megawatt mega-project, which will lessen water flow into the main Nile river, is the centrepiece in Ethiopia's bid to become Africa's biggest power exporter.
"Unchanged and additional and excessive demands of Egypt and Sudan prohibited the conclusion of this round of negotiation by an agreement," said Mr Bekele in a statement on Tuesday.
It did not elaborate but said Ethiopia was willing to show flexibility as talks would continue.
The three countries had been expected to sign an agreement in Washington in February but Ethiopia skipped the meeting and only Egypt initialled the deal.
Khartoum hopes the dam will help regulate flooding, but in June it warned that millions of lives will be at "great risk" if Ethiopia unilaterally fills the dam.
In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Sudan raised concerns that water discharged from the GERD could "compromise the safety" of its own Roseires Dam by overwhelming it and causing flooding.
Last month, Egypt also appealed to the UNSC to intervene in the crisis – a move president Abdel Fattah El Sisi said underlined his country's commitment to a political solution.
Updated: July 15, 2020 08:01 PM
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