The latest round of negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia concluded without resolving long-standing disputes over GERD.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi warned that “all options are open” after the last round of discussions between his country, Sudan and Ethiopia over a giant dam built by the latter on the Blue Nile ended without progress.
Delegations from the three countries met in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of, the current president of the African Union (AU), to try to break the deadlock in the negotiations. Talks ended on Tuesday without resolution long-standing disputes over the operation and filling of the dam reservoir.
“I say to our brothers in Ethiopia, let’s not reach the point where you hit an Egyptian drop of water, because all options are open,” el-Sisi said on Wednesday.
“We have witnessed the cost of any confrontation,” he added, referring to past regional conflicts.
Sudanese irrigation minister also issued a warning on Wednesday, saying his country was ready to harden its stance in the dispute and again exert pressure at the highest international level.
“For Sudan, all options are possible, including the return [the matter] at the United Nations Security Council and political hardening … [if] Ethiopia embarks on a second filling [of the dam] without agreement, ”Yasser Abbas told reporters.
The Ethiopian Renaissance Grand Dam has been a source of tension in the Nile Basin since Ethiopia opened there in 2011.
Downstream neighbors Egypt and Sudan see the multibillion-dollar project a threat due to their reliance on Nile waters, while Ethiopia sees it as essential for its electrification and development.
Ethiopian Water Minister Seleshi Bekele told a press conference on Wednesday that Ethiopia will continue to fill the dam’s huge reservoir during the next rainy season, which normally begins in June or July.
“As construction progresses, filling takes place,” Seleshi said. “We’re not deviating from it at all.”
However, Seleshi sought to defuse the tensions.
“There is no need to go into an unnecessary war. A war cannot start because of water. The water flows if you fight today, it will continue to flow tomorrow, ”he told reporters.
Egypt and Sudan, in statements after the Kinshasa meeting, accused Ethiopia of intransigence on resuming negotiations ahead of a second filling of the dam this year.
Ethiopia said on Tuesday it could not reach a deal that infringed its rights to use the Nile.
Sudan and Egypt had offered to include the European Union, the United States and the United Nations as mediators in addition to the further facilitation of the talks by the AU.
The two countries said Ethiopia rejected the proposal at the meeting, which Seleshi said was part of an attempt to delay the process, according to the state-run FANA news agency.