The EU has urged Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to reach an agreement on the Grand Renaissance Dam crisis before Addis Ababa begins the second phase of filling the reservoir this summer, it has been reported. Special EU envoy to Ethiopia and Sudan Pekka Haavisto said that the bloc believes that, along with the African Union, it can help the three countries to find a solution to the issue.
Haavisto stressed the importance of such an agreement, even for a transitional period. He noted that Ethiopia should provide information on the technical and practical aspects of operating the dam on the River Nile. The envoy, who is also Finland's foreign minister, said that the EU can play a positive role and help at the political and technical levels to reach an agreement.
With a lack of technical information, Sudan is concerned that the flow of water may lead to the destruction of infrastructure, and demands guarantees that the filling of the reservoir will be safe. On Friday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi said that the dam has turned into a weapon and a threat to the country. She described its first filling stage as a "stab in the back" and a violent shock to Sudan's confidence in the Ethiopians.
According to Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, Ethiopia's unilateral filling of the reservoir is a direct threat to Sudan.
In Egypt, Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aty announced that his country and Sudan will not accept Ethiopia's unilateral filling and operation of the dam. He added his belief that the current negotiations under the auspices of the African Union will not make any significant progress.
"The unilateral filling last year caused severe damage to Sudan," he explained, "including drought and flooding, and led to an increase in turbidity in drinking stations."
Ethiopia began building the Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile in 2011 with the aim of generating electricity. Egypt fears that the dam will affect its share of the Nile water, while Sudan fears that it will affect its own dams on the river.