Cairo/Addis Ababa: – The Arab League has taken an aggressive stand on the dam, being built by Ethiopia, on the Nile river. The Arab League has warned that Ethiopia should respect Egypt and Sudan’s rights over the water in the River Nile while building the dam. At the same time, the Arab League has also warned that it is standing firm behind Egypt and Sudan in this matter. Egypt, as well as Sudan, have adopted an uncompromising stand over this dam. Moreover, it is said that Sudan has initiated activities, even on the military level.
Secretary-General of the Arab League Abul Gheit issued a warning; he said that negotiations are on between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the dam being built on the Nile River. It is expected that an acceptable and legal agreement, safeguarding everyone’s interests, will emerge from the negotiations. While filling and making the dam operational, Ethiopia needs to safeguard Egypt and Sudan’s water rights. Ethiopia needs to take an appropriate and balanced stand on this issue. At the same time, he reminded Ethiopia that the Arab League has passed a resolution favouring Egypt and Sudan’s rights on the water in the Nile River.
Both Egypt and Sudan are claiming that they will be worst-hit once the Ethiopian dam becomes fully operational. 90% of Egyptian farming is dependent on the water from the Nile river. Besides, according to Egypt, a third of this will be under threat after the dam becomes operational. Whereas, in Sudan, along with the effect on farming, the dam will also result in the population facing a shortage of drinking water. Therefore, both these countries have intensified their opposition to this dam. They have demanded that Ethiopia sign a written agreement saying that water flow in the river will not be affected.
But despite the negotiations continuing for the last 10 years, Ethiopia has refused to give a written commitment to that effect. Instead, Ethiopian has accused that Egypt and Sudan are creating obstacles in the dam project and using the issue for other purposes. Egypt and Sudan have become more aggressive due to these allegations and preparations are being made to open a front, against Ethiopia, on the international level. The warning issued by the Arab League is considered to be a part of the same efforts.
Ethiopia decided to build a dam on the Nile river in 2011. This dam named ‘The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ will be built at the cost of $4.6 billion and it is believed that 70% of the work on the dam has been completed. The dam has a catchment area of a whopping 1,874 kilometres and will have a storage of 74 billion cubic metres of water. A hydroelectric project is also being built on the dam. Moreover, it is being said that the project’s capacity will be 6,000 megawatts.