An Egyptian-Sudanese statement confirmed, on Wednesday, that Ethiopia does not take into account their water interests regarding the Renaissance Dam project.
The bilateral statement referred to “serious risks and dire effects as a result of Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of the Renaissance Dam.”
Al-Arabiya sources revealed that Egypt and Sudan agreed on the need for an international committee to assess the damages of the second filling, and that close Egyptian-Sudanese meetings will take place with American and European officials on the Renaissance Dam.
This comes as the Sudanese Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation and Water Resources held an expanded session of talks with the Egyptian Ministers of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and the Egyptian Ministers of Water Resources and Irrigation.
The Egyptian delegation also met with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, and the head of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath sources said that the delegation carries a proposal for coordination between the two countries in the file of the Renaissance Dam, and also aims to exchange information about the status of the dam and Ethiopia’s ability to start the second filling next July.
Sudan had revealed earlier this month that Ethiopia had actually started the filling process before July, amid fears from Sudan and Egypt of possible negative effects from the filling process.
The Egyptian Minister of Irrigation had confirmed earlier, his country’s keenness to continue negotiations on the Renaissance Dam to reach a fair and binding agreement.
During his meeting with Egyptian parliamentarians, last Saturday, he stressed Egypt’s constants in preserving its water rights and achieving benefit for all in any agreement on the Ethiopian dam, stressing the quest to reach a just and binding legal agreement for all that meets the aspirations of all countries in development, adding that any action is taken without Reaching a just and binding legal agreement without coordination with the two downstream countries is a unilateral act that is rejected.
And last Thursday, Ethiopia announced that it would start implementing the second filling of the Renaissance Dam next July 22, despite objections from Egypt and Sudan.
The Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Seleshi Bekele, said that his country will start implementing the second filling of the dam, and that it is in a race against time to complete some engineering work in the 13 gates before the next storage, adding that work will be done to raise the middle passage to a height of 573 meters instead of 595 meters.
The Ethiopian minister explained that Egypt will not be harmed by the second filling because of its success in storing 130 billion cubic meters of water behind the High Dam, noting that the Renaissance Dam is scheduled to be completed in 2023, and the first two turbines to generate power can be operated in August.
For his part, in a meeting with ministers in his government yesterday, Sudanese Prime Minister Hamdok stressed Sudan’s rejection of the unilateral filling of the Renaissance Dam without reaching a binding legal agreement, pointing to the direct threat posed by the unilateral filling to the operation of the Roseris Dam, irrigation projects, power generation systems and citizens on both banks of the Nile blue.
Hamdok reviewed the plans and programs of the negotiating team and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Irrigation to use all legal means before the various regional and international legal and judicial bodies to defend Sudan’s legitimate interests and national security, and its ability to plan and organize the use of its water resources for the benefit of its people.
It is noteworthy that the negotiations between the three countries are still witnessing disagreements over some items related to the operation and filling of the dam.