Ethiopia said Saturday it was on schedule to begin filling a controversial mega-dam on the Blue Nile River within weeks but vowed to try resolving its dispute with downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan.
The statement from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office undercut claims made Friday evening by Egypt and Sudan, whose leaders said Ethiopia had agreed to delay filling the dam’s reservoir until an agreement was reached.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, has been a source of tension in the Nile basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it nearly a decade ago.
Ethiopia says the project is essential for its development, while Egypt and Sudan worry about access to vital water supplies from the Nile.
Addis Ababa has been vocal about its plans to start filling the reservoir in July, and Abiy faces intense domestic political pressure to stick to that timeline.
The leaders of all three countries spoke Friday evening on a call convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current chair of the African Union.
Read more: france24