CAIRO, April 12. /TASS/. Differences over construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the upper Nile should be resolved exclusively by the interested states through a dialogue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on Monday.
"As for the Renaissance Dam, our Egyptian friends have been bringing up this issue for a while already," the Russian top diplomat said. "We are sincerely interested in settling it. It is possible to do so only by the three interested states. All others should create the necessary conditions for it," he specified.
The minister reiterated that the Russian leadership had offered the involved parties to perform a technical evaluation, particularly, images from space and an analysis by experts in the sphere of hydropower. "We do not claim to perform any other roles," he stated, adding that Russia was not "invited as a mediator. As the mediators, the US was invited as well as the European Union, the UN and the African Union which I consider very important because the African Union is just the structure where all three participants of the process are represented and where the African tradition of resolving African problems by African countries themselves should be manifested."
"We support this principle of finding African solutions to African problems most actively, not just on this but also on every other issue, including conflicts that remain in Africa," the minister emphasized.
Since 2011, Ethiopia has been implementing the project of building Africa’s largest dam, the GERD. This cascade of four dams will generate 5,250 megawatts. The $4.6-billion project is 80% complete and Addis Ababa plans to commission the dam in 2022-2023. The hydropower project is crucial to Ethiopia’s economic growth, as its implementation will provide the country with energy and allow for energy exports to neighboring states. Egypt and Sudan fear that the Ethiopian hydroelectric dam will cause major disruptions to their access to the Nile’s waters, which will trigger numerous socioeconomic and environmental problems. Therefore, these two countries try to secure water resources requirements for themselves and to delay the filling of the GERD’s reservoir for as long as possible.