Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister said that Ethiopia “cannot and will not agree” to recognize Egyptian and Sudanese claims to water from the Nile River.
The comments came in the wake of failed talks between Ethiopia and Egypt and Sudan over Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam, built on the Blue Nile River, the main tributary of the Nile River. In an online event on Thursday set up by the Ethiopian Embassy in London, Demeke Mekonnen said that Egypt and Sudan wanted to force Ethiopia to agree to water quotas they set in a 1959 treaty, which Ethiopia was not involved in, The New Arab reported.
That treaty allocates 55.5 billion cubic meter of water from the Nile water annually to Egypt and 18.5 billion to Sudan.
“Ethiopia cannot and will not agree to such unfair terms that intend to illicit its endorsement for a colonial era treaty and maintain the hydro-hegemony of Egypt and the Sudan,” Mekonnen said. “We are being pressed to give up our right to the Nile by assenting to the monopoly of Egypt and Sudan.”
Ethiopia announced a second filling of the dam is set to take place in July and will collect 13.5 billion cubic meters of water. This is three times more water than it collected last year in its first filling.
The Nile River provides Egypt with about 90 percent of its water needs. Sudan and Egypt fear unchecked filling of the massive dam will cause either severe droughts or flooding in in some of the areas of their countries. Ethiopia says the dam project is key to its economic development and to generating power for its citizens.