The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (photo: Reuters)
The Ethiopian foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Addis Ababa is committed to implement the second phase of the filling of the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as planned during the rainy season which starts in July, Al-Arabiya reported.
Ethiopia's most recent announcement comes despite continued objections from Egypt and Sudan, the two downstream countries, to unilateral decisions from Addis Ababa on the filling and operation of the GERD in the absence of a legally binding agreement between the three countries.
The Ethiopian foreign ministry stressed that Ethiopia adheres to the African Union (AU) sponsored GERD negotiations and is expecting an invitation for the three countries to resume the talks on the outstanding issues.
Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly warned that Ethiopia's decision to proceed with the second filling of the dam seriously threatens the water interests of the two downstream countries.
Earlier this month, Egypt stressed that Addis Ababa's decision on the second filling reflects both Ethiopia’s "ill intentions” in resolving the dispute as well as its continued attempts to undermine mediators’ role to reach a deal.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi raised the issue in a recent phone call with US President Joe Biden, where he welcomed continuing US efforts in this issue.
Biden said that Washington completely understands the extreme importance of such an issue to the Egyptian people, indicating that more efforts will be exerted to ensure the water security of Egypt.
AU-sponsored talks between the three countries over the last year and a half failed to produce an agreement due to Ethiopian intrasigence. Ethiopia also rejected a Sudanese proposal to include international mediators in the efforts to resolve the dispute.