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Egypt’s irrigation minister accuses Ethiopia of spoiling Sudan’s drinking stations 

June 12, 2021 at 11:39 am

A general view the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on 26 December 2019 [EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt’s Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty announced on Friday that Ethiopia had spoiled drinking stations in Sudan by releasing muddy waters without informing the downstream countries.

This came during a meeting between Abdel Aty and Ayman Aqil, president of Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights, along with representatives of the African initiative, Nile for Peace, reported the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

The Egyptian minister’s statements come in light of years of high-level coordination between Cairo and Khartoum on the Renaissance Dam issue, on the one hand, and negotiations with Addis Ababa regarding the file, on the other.

Abdel Aty explained: “The Ethiopian side released quantities of muddy water last November without informing the downstream countries, which caused an increase of mud in the drinking water stations in Sudan.”

He added: “Ethiopia’s implementation of the first filling of the Renaissance Dam without coordinating with the two downstream countries caused Sudan to experience a severe drought, followed by massive floods.”

READ: Egypt delegation visits Sudan to discuss Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam

The Egyptian minister added that his country and Sudan “will not accept any unilateral action to fill and operate the Ethiopian dam,” according to the same source.

On Wednesday, Sudan and Egypt stressed in a joint statement the importance of coordinating efforts at the international and regional levels to push Ethiopia to hold serious talks on the Renaissance Dam file, given that negotiations had stalled for months.

Ethiopia holds Cairo and Khartoum responsible for “obstructing the negotiations” and indicated that the purpose behind building the dam is not to harm the two downstream countries, but rather to generate electricity for development purposes.

Addis Ababa insists on proceeding with a second filling of the dam, which would take place next July and August, about a year after the first filling, even though there has been no agreement with the concerned country regarding this step.

Meanwhile, Cairo and Khartoum demand first reaching a tripartite agreement to preserve their water facilities and secure their annual share of the Nile water.

READ: Egypt arrests diplomat who criticised handling of Ethiopia dam row