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The Renaissance Dam .. Sudan responds to “Ethiopia’s move” with a strong statement

On Sunday, Ethiopia officially began producing electricity from the Renaissance Dam, which it is building on the Blue Nile, in what Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed described as “the birth of a new era.”

The official spokesman for the Sudanese negotiating team in this file, Omar Kamel, considered that the measures taken by Ethiopia “contradict the spirit of cooperation and constitute a fundamental breach of Ethiopia’s international legal obligations, as well as what was agreed upon between the three countries in the Declaration of Principles.”

He said: “Sudan affirms its position rejecting all unilateral measures with regard to filling and operating the dam.”

In 2011, Ethiopia launched the project, estimated at $4 billion, and aims to build the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa. However, it raises regional tensions, especially with Egypt, which relies on the Nile River to provide about 90 percent of its irrigation and drinking water needs.

And on Sunday, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned, in a statement, the Ethiopian move, considering that “Ethiopia’s announcement to unilaterally start the process of operating the Renaissance Dam is a further violation of its obligations under the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in March 2015”.

Cairo and Khartoum view the project as a threat to them due to their heavy dependence on the waters of the Nile, while Addis Ababa considers it necessary to secure electricity and to develop the country.

The Renaissance Dam is located on the Blue Nile in the Benishangul-Gemuz region, about 30 km from the border with Sudan. Its length is 1.8 km and its height is 145 meters.

The Blue Nile, which originates in Ethiopia, meets the White Nile in Khartoum to form the Nile River, which crosses Sudan and Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean.

Talks held under the auspices of the African Union did not reach a tripartite agreement on filling and operating the dam, and Cairo and Khartoum demanded that Addis Ababa stop filling the dam’s reservoir until an agreement was reached.

Last summer, the United Nations called on the three countries to continue their talks under the auspices of the African Union.

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