Ethiopia’s latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan on an agreement over the dam’s operation failed early this week.

A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, July 12, 2020.
A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, July 12, 2020. (Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies / Reuters)

Ethiopia’s water minister is denying reports citing him as saying the government has begun filling the massive hydroelectric dam that has caused severe tensions with Egypt.

After Minister Sileshi Bekele told the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday that the dam’s construction and filling “go hand in hand” and confirmed satellite images from recent days showing the dam’s reservoir swelling, media outlets reported that he said the government had begun the filling.

The minister told The Associated Press the images reflected the heavy rains and that inflow was greater than the outflow.

Talks with Egypt, Sudan fail

Ethiopia’s latest round of talks with Egypt and Sudan on an agreement over Grand Renaissance dam's operation failed early this week.

Ethiopia says the colossal dam offers a critical opportunity to pull millions of its nearly 110 million citizens out of poverty and become a major power exporter. Downstream Egypt, which depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and booming population of 100 million with fresh water, asserts that the dam poses an existential threat.

Experts fear that filling the dam without a deal could push the countries to the brink of military conflict.

READ MORE: ‘Tired of Begging’: Developments in the Nile Dam Dispute

A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, June 26, 2020
A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, June 26, 2020 (Reuters)

Sudan submits Nile Dam draft agreement to African Union

Sudan’s Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources said that it submitted a "balanced and fair" draft agreement on the Nile dam to the African Union.

"Sudan delivered its final report on the course of the Hidase Dam negotiations to the African Union's current president, South Africa," the ministry statement said, referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile.

The statement said the report also includes evaluations that provide limited progress on controversial issues and offer solutions to pending issues.

No agreement was reached in tripartite negotiations held between July 3 and July 13 at the initiative of the African Union on the filling and operation of the GERD, which Ethiopia has built on the Nile River, which caused a political crisis between the country, Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia has announced that although there was progress in the negotiations, no agreement was reached but added that the negotiations are expected to continue.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies