Ethiopia denies delays to fill controversial dam

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Ethiopia has rubbished reports that it will delay filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) it is constructing on Abay (Nile) river.

Various media outlets reported that the horn African nation agreed to delay the filling of the controversial mega-dam after talks between leaders of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on Friday as facilitated by the current chairperson of the African Union.

“Ethiopia will not delay the filling of the GERD's reservoir but negotiations will continue, Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

 "Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue," Dina added.

The statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office also undercut claims made Friday evening by Egypt and Sudan, whose leaders said Ethiopia had agreed to delay filling the dam's reservoir until an agreement was reached.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric project, has been a source of tension in the Nile basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it nearly a decade ago.

Ethiopia says the project is essential for its development and will not cause any significant damage on downstream countries namely Sudan and Egypt.

Sixty percent of its 115 million Ethiopian people reportedly do not have access to electricity while 98 percent of the people of Egypt have access to electricity.

Ethiopia contributes 85 percent to the Nile while Egypt, which has abundant underground water resources, contributes nothing to the Abay (Nile) waters.


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