Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed stated that his country will begin filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam during heavy rain season in July (GERD) regardless of trilateral agreement, reports Ahram Online.
“Ethiopia will not harm Egypt and will start filling the dam to tap into the [current] heavy rain season. We will not deprive Egypt of water and will reach an agreement soon,” the Ethiopian prime minister was quoted to have said.
This comes in light of protests and unrest happening in Ethiopia following the killing of renowned singer Hachalu Hundessa by unknown attackers.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed asserted that current unrest will not distract plans to fill the dam, and noted that, “If Ethiopia doesn’t fill the dam, it means Ethiopia has agreed to demolish the dam.”
In June, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed that Ethiopia will not start filling its new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in July and will instead return to tripartite talks aimed at reaching a final binding agreement.
It came during an emergency African Union summit, which saw the leaders of the three countries – President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdouk and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed – agree to form a committee of experts to finalise a binding agreement over the controversial dam within the next few weeks.
However, in its own statement, Ethiopia said that construction of the GERD will continue and that it will commence the filling of the dam.
Top UN official for Political and Peace-building Affairs told the Security Council Rosemary DiCarlo warned that “climate change, combined with projected demographic growth and socio-economic changes, will increase water management challenges worldwide”.