Ethiopia completes second phase of refill on controversial mega-dam on the Nile

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Ethiopia has successfully completed the second phase of filling its mega-dam on the Nile (Gerd), a source of tension with its two downstream neighbors on the river, Sudan and Egypt, an Ethiopian official told AFP Monday.

"The first filling was carried out last year, the second is now completed and will be formally announced today or tomorrow," this official assured AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the amount of water stored was now sufficient to ensure energy production.

The "Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam" (Gerd) is a bone of contention with Sudan and Egypt, both dependent on the Nile for their water resources, since the project was launched in 2011.

Discussions initiated under the aegis of the African Union (AU) have not allowed the three countries to reach a tripartite agreement on the filling of the dam and the modalities of operation of water reservoirs.

Cairo and Khartoum had asked Addis Ababa to suspend the filling of the dam pending an agreement.

The UN Security Council took up the matter on July 8 to negotiate an agreement, but Ethiopia diplomatically pushed back, saying it was "regrettable that the progress of the negotiations has been stalled and politicized.

"Ethiopia has repeatedly made it clear that bringing the matter to the UN Security Council is and remains unnecessary and far from the Council's mandate," the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

In July 2020, Ethiopia announced that it had met its target of storing 4.9 billion cubic meters of water and planned a second phase of 13.5 billion cubic meters.

There is now enough water to put into operation the first two turbines of the dam, the Ethiopian official told AFP without giving a precise date for the beginning of electricity production.

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