On July 22nd, Ethiopia’s foreign minister caused outrage in Egypt after he tweeted that “The Nile is Ours”, just days after it completed its Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD] project on upstream Nile.
Gedu Andargachew tweet read: “Congratulations! It was the Nile River and the river became a lake. It will no longer flow into the river. Ethiopia will have all the development it wants from it. In fact the Nile is ours!”
ዐባይ ወንዝ ነበር ተገርቶ ወንዝም ሀይቅም ሆነ። ከእንግዲህ በወንዝነቱ ይፈሳል። በሀይቅነቱ ኢትዮጵያ ለፈለገችው ልማት ሁሉ ለመዋል እጅ ሰጥቷል።እውነትም ዐባይ የእኛ ሆነ !!
— Gedu Andargachew (@GeduAndargachew) July 22, 2020
— Gedu Andargachew (@GeduAndargachew) July 15, 2020
On July 23rd, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed confirmed that his country had achieved its target of filling the reservoir behind the dam with its first 4.9 billion cubic metres of water – days after its neighbours Sudan and Egypt raised objections against doing so.
“The completion of the first round of filling is a historic moment that showcases Ethiopians’ commitment to the renaissance of our country,” Ahmed said.
It comes amid reports that the US is considering sanctions against Ethiopia over its refusal to enter into a final agreement with Sudan and Egypt about the future status of the Nile.
Egypt has been dependent on the Nile’s water for thousands of years and 85 percent of the water reaching it originates from the Blue Nile tributary, where Ethiopia has constructed the GERD.
Tensions have increased between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan after Ethiopia rejected signing a binding agreement regarding the use of the Nile’s waters and it unilaterally started to fill the reservoir of the GERD.
The unregulated filling of the GERD’s reservoir could potentially cut off essential water supplies to Sudan and Egypt, causing drought and famine.
In the first governmental reaction, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok said on July 24th that the Nile “belonged to all the downstream countries” and that a “carefully calculated accord” had to be reached.
Sudanese newspapers quoted him as saying:
“Sudan is working seriously with its partners to reach an agreement guaranteeing that the interests of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan will not be harmed, so that a carefully calculated accord will be reached which will include all aspects [of dispute] including the filling and operation [of Ethiopia’s dam].”
On July 23rd, the US journal Foreign Policy reported that several officials from the Trump administration commented that the Trump administration could cut aid to Ethiopia if negotiations stalled again.
There is yet no official response from Egypt, but it is expected not to be positive.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Ethiopian Dam Project Temporarily Suspended, Negotiations Fast-Tracked To Prevent Major Conflict With Egypt
- Sudan Seeks Tripartite Agreement That Includes Egypt Prior To Concluding Agreement With Ethiopia On Controversial Dam Project