Ethiopia says news about filling Nile dam incorrect: Sudan’s foreign ministry

Even before the impact studies have been started, officials say 50 percent of the dam's construction has been completed [Reuters]

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday announced that it was officially informed by Ethiopia that news saying that it started filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) were incorrect.

“Ethiopia’s foreign ministry notified Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the news that the Ethiopian authorities embarked on filling the GERD were incorrect,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The Ethiopian foreign ministry explained that the Ethiopian water and irrigation minister did not make the statements which were attributed to him on Wednesday that the GERD has started filling,” it added.

Director of neighboring countries department of Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs Babikir Al-Siddiq Mohamed Al-Amin on Thursday met with Ethiopia’s Charge d’Affaires Mekonnen Gossaye in Khartoum, it said.

Al-Amin reiterated Sudan’s commitment to the negotiations under the supervision of the African Union (AU) to reach a consensus solution for the interest of the three countries, renewing Sudan’s rejection to any unilateral measures, the statement noted.

According to the statement, the Ethiopian diplomat said his country’s authorities have not closed the gates of the GERD. “This is the rainy season and the water naturally gathered in the lake of the dam,” Gossaye was quoted in the statement as saying.

He reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to continuing the negotiations under the AU patronage over the GERD issue and to the Declaration of Principles signed by Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry on Wednesday disclosed a decline in the water levels of the Nile River, which hints closure of the gates of the GERD when Ethiopia’s Water and Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele reportedly announced that the GERD has started filling.

On Monday, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia ended the most recent round of talks on the GERD without reaching an agreement on the issue of filling of the dam.

Meanwhile, the three countries sent separate reports to the AU which is expected to call for a mini-summit next week to issue a decision regarding the dam.

Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concer

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