CAIRO: Egypt has sent a letter to the UN Security Council after Ethiopia announced the operation of the first low turbine in its Renaissance Dam, warning that it was another “fundamental breach” of the Declaration of Principles agreement.
On Feb. 25, Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN demanded that the letter be circulated as a document of the Security Council under the “Peace and Security in Africa” title.
The Egyptian letter said: “The Ethiopian declaration is a unilateral measure that comes on top of the unilateral filling operations for the years 2020 and 2021, and is another fundamental breach of the Declaration of Principles agreement concluded in March 2015, which clearly and unambiguously requires Ethiopia to reach a legally binding agreement on the rules to fill and operate the Renaissance Dam before the start of the filling and operation process.”
The Declaration of Principle agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan was signed in Khartoum in March 2015 at a tripartite summit that included the heads of the three countries.
The meeting was also attended by a World Bank representative. The declaration aimed to promote mutual understanding and goodwill, and uphold the principles of international law and cooperation.
However, in its letter to the Security Council, Egypt warned: “Ethiopia has refrained from conducting the required studies on the hydrological, social, economic and environmental impacts of the construction of the Renaissance Dam, and from consulting in advance with other countries on the river, in accordance with Ethiopia’s stable obligations under customary international law.”
Cairo said that “these practices, in addition to continuing to fill the Renaissance Dam reservoir and operate it unilaterally, are a violation of the Declaration of Principles agreement, and will have direct negative effects on Egypt’s rights and interests as a riparian state, and will threaten to cause great harm to it.”
And on Sept. 15 last year, the letter added, the Security Council had issued a presidential statement calling on the three countries to move forward in a “constructive and cooperative manner” in the negotiating process to reach a binding agreement.
As a result of Ethiopia moving ahead with dam operations, it had violated an “indispensable condition for compliance with the presidential statement issued by the Security Council,” Egypt warned.
The letter added that Cairo “categorically rejects Ethiopia’s beginning to operate the dam unilaterally.
“It bears full responsibility for violating the obligations entrusted to it in accordance with the rules of international law and the Declaration of Principles agreement, and for any damage caused to Egypt as a result of that violation.”