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Ethiopia says Egypt’s new proposal on GERD crossed red line

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Addis Ababa, October 8, 2019 (FBC) –Egypt’s new proposal regarding the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has remained a point of disagreement between the two countries, according to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy.

“The proposal crossed the red line drawn by Ethiopia,” said the Ministry in a discussion organized by Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on GERD to discuss the progress of the project.

The current status of the project and latest development on the trilateral meeting held between the downstream countries of the Nile were discussed at the event that brought together different stakeholders.

Tefera Beyen, Border and Cross-Border Rivers Affairs Advisor at the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, briefed the participants about the series of trilateral talks being held between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

In its new approach, Egypt proposed the dam to release 40 billion cubic meters of water every year, release more water when the Aswan Dam goes below 165 meters above sea level, and invited a third party in the discussions between the three countries, he said

Ethiopia rejected the proposal because the construction of the dam is an issue of national survival and sovereignty. The proposal also crossed the red line drawn by Ethiopia, said Tefera.

The Ministry recently said that Egypt’s new approach regarding the dam is an unwarranted denial of the progress in the trilateral technical dialogue and violates the agreement signed by the three countries in 2015.

“It also goes against the consent and wishes of Ethiopia and the Sudan; it negatively affects the sustainable cooperation between the Parties; undermines the ample opportunity for technical dialogue between the three countries; and disrupts the positive spirit of cooperation,” it said in a statement.

Engineer Kifle Horo, Project Manager of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, told the participants about the progress of the project and said the construction of the dam has now reached over 68.5% completion status.

Works on the two turbines that could begin producing electricity in 2020 is nearing completion, the manager said.

Office of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on GERD collected 970 million birr for the construction of dam from the sale of bonds and through different fund raising programs last Ethiopian fiscal year.

Ethiopia recently announced plan to finalize GERD project in 2023. At the end of the works, it will be the largest dam in Africa with a total installed power of 6,450 MW.