Egypt denounces Ethiopia’s move to start second filling of giant dam

Egypt said on Monday it categorically rejects Ethiopia’s “unilateral move” of starting to fill the reservoir of a controversial dam on the Nile River’s main tributary for the second year.

The commencement of the second filling was announced via a letter sent by Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Sileshi Bekele to his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Abdel-Ati earlier Monday.

Egypt called the move a “clear and grave violation” of a 2015 agreement and is a threat to the region’s security and peace.

The UN Security Council has scheduled a Thursday meeting to discuss the decadelong dispute over Ethiopia’s controversial dam. The meeting followed the failure of the latest round of African Union-brokered negotiations in April.

Egyptian and Sudanese foreign ministers are currently in New York to attend the Security Council meeting.

Earlier this year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned Ethiopia that his government would not tolerate any moves by Addis Ababa that would reduce Egypt’s share of water from the Nile.

Sisi said that “all options are open” should Egypt’s share be touched, calling Addis Ababa to cooperate with Cairo and Khartoum to avoid any conflict.

Ethiopia’s dam is 80 percent complete and is expected to reach full generating capacity in 2023.

Egypt and Sudan have repeatedly called for the U.S., the UN, and European Union to intervene to reach a legally binding deal that would spell out how the dam is operated and filled.