CAIRO: Ethiopia is “violating the commitments of the 2015 Declaration of Principles” by unilaterally starting electricity generation from the Renaissance Dam, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has warned.
The agreement — signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan — stipulates “cooperation on the basis of mutual understanding, mutual benefit, goodwill and the principles of international law.”
On Sunday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated the first operation to generate electricity from the Renaissance Dam in the presence of senior officials, including former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and former President Malatu Tshome.
During a tour of the power plant, Ahmed said: “Water will continue to flow to Sudan and Egypt during power generation, and we succeeded in making the world see what we were talking about, which is that Ethiopia does not have any intentions to build a dam for the sake of starving our Egyptian and Sudanese brothers.”
Official media reported that the dam, located in western Ethiopia near the border with Sudan, had started generating 375 megawatts of electricity from one of its 13 turbines.
Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Egypt’s minister of water resources and irrigation, has said his country is one of the most water-scarce in the world.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi recently stressed “the need to reach a fair, balanced and binding legal agreement on filling and operating the Renaissance Dam, in accordance with the rules of international law and the outcomes of the (UN) Security Council in this regard, within an appropriate timeframe and without any unilateral measures.”
Negotiations related to the dam have been officially suspended since last April. Egypt and Sudan reject Ethiopia’s insistence on filling the dam before reaching a binding agreement.