Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River in Guba, north-west Ethiopia. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Egypt has condemned a plan by Ethiopia to build more dams, saying it points to Addis Ababa’s bad intentions.

Both countries are locked in a decade-long dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) built on the Nile amid Egyptian fears it will cut its vital water share.

“Egypt rejects what came in Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statements about Ethiopia’s intention to build a number of dams in different areas of the country,” a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

“This statement exposes anew Ethiopia’s bad intention and its approach to the River Nile and other international rivers shared with neighbouring countries as if they were internal rivers subjected to its sovereignty and dedicated to serve its interests,” the official added.

He said that such projects should be only set up after “coordination, consultation and agreement” with the potentially affected riparian countries, mainly the downstream states.

“The Ethiopian prime minister’s statements continue a regrettable Ethiopian approach that breaches the applicable international law rules which regulate use of international rivers,” the spokesman added in a statement.

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan – a third Nile country—have failed in a decade of talks to resolve the GERD dispute.

Egyptian officials have often blamed Ethiopia for the GERD impasse and accused Addis Ababa of playing for time.

The Ethiopian dam has triggered wide fears in Egypt, which relies heavily on the Nile to cover the water needs of its population of over 100 million people.

Ethiopia has repeatedly denied Egyptians’ worries and defended its construction of the $5 billion dam as being crucial for its development and lifting its population of around 107 million out of poverty.