Ethiopia says it will start filling the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in July, after Sudan rejected a request for a partial agreement without Egypt.
On May 13, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, in a letter to his Ethiopian counterpart, Dr Abiy Ahmed, said the issues regarding the dam need a tripartite agreement between Khartoum, Addis Ababa and Cairo, before the first filling.
“The signing of any partial agreement for the first stage requires an agreement on the technical and legal aspects that must be included in the agreement such as the co-ordination mechanism, data exchange, dam safety, and environmental and social impacts,” said Mr Hamdok in the letter.
However, Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Sileshi Bekele on May 14 told the media in Addis Ababa that the $4.8 billion project would go on as the civil engineering part was 87 per cent complete, and the general construction progress has reached 73 per cent.
The tripartite negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have stalled since February, when Ethiopia boycotted the talks accusing Sudan of using the US to put pressure on them.
Ethiopia says it is concerned that it is being asked to offer mitigation in case of a prolonged drought.