CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry denounced on Monday statements by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed regarding a plan to build over 100 dams in different parts of the country, saying that the statements are a continuation of “a regrettable approach” that disregards international law.
Ethiopia plans to hold 13.5 billion cubic meters of water during the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s reservoir in July, despite the objections of downstream countries Egypt and Sudan over the move in the absence of a legally binding agreement.
Ahmed Hafez, the ministry’s spokesman, said Abiy’s statement reveals how Ethiopia thinks the Nile River and other international rivers it shares with neighboring countries are to be used to serve its interests alone.
Hafez said Egypt has always recognized the rights of all the Nile Basin countries to develop water projects and benefit from the resources of the Nile River.
However, he said, these water projects and facilities must be set up after coordination, consultation and agreement with the countries that may be affected by them, especially the downstream countries.
The Ethiopian News Agency quoted Abiy as saying: “The country is scheduled to build more than 100 small and medium dams in several regions of the country as part of the budget plan for the next Ethiopian year.”
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have resorted to international diplomacy in the past weeks, explaining their stances and developments in the latest deadlock in negotiations.
Egypt, whose 100 million-plus population depends on the Nile for over 95 percent of its freshwater, has warned that the second filling will lead to tensions in the region and will cause instability in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Sudan fears the dam will put the lives of 20 million of its citizens at high risk if an agreement is not reached before the second filling.