And the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said: “In response to the Ethiopian announcement today, February 20, of unilaterally starting the operation of the Renaissance Dam, after the previous unilateral start of the first and second stages of filling the dam, Egypt affirms that this step is a further effort by the Ethiopian side in violating its obligations.” Pursuant to the 2015 Declaration of Principles Agreement signed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
On Sunday, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abi Ahmed, officially launched the process of producing electricity from the Renaissance Dam.
Abi Ahmed, accompanied by high-ranking officials, toured the power plant and pressed a set of buttons on an electronic screen, a move officials said launched the production process, AFP reported.
The dam, which is expected to be Africa’s largest project to generate electricity from water, has sparked a regional dispute since Ethiopia launched the project in 2011..
The downstream countries, Ethiopia’s neighbors, Egypt and Sudan, fear the dam’s repercussions on their water security, while Addis Ababa stresses its importance for electricity generation and development.
The three governments have held several rounds of talks that have so far not led to any indication of a breakthrough.
The $4.2 billion project aims to produce more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity, more than twice the electricity produced by Ethiopia.
The Renaissance Dam is located on the Blue Nile in the Benishangoul-Gemuz region, about 30 km from the border with Sudan. It is 1.8 km long and 145 meters high..
The Blue Nile, which originates in Ethiopia, meets the White Nile in Khartoum to form the Nile River, which crosses Sudan and Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean.
For Egypt, which relies on the Nile to provide about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water needs, the dam poses a threat to its water security..
For his part, Sudan hopes that the project will contribute to controlling annual floods, but it fears that its dams will be damaged in the absence of an agreement on the operation of the dam.