On July 26, the federal government of Ethiopia sent Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs a letter confirming its intention to proceed with the third phase of filling the reservoir of the GERD dam, in the Benishangul Gumuz region, while continuing to affirm its readiness for the initiation of a regional dialogue on the management of the dam.
The Egyptian government viewed Ethiopia’s decision as a violation of international law and, on July 29, sent a letter to the UN Security Council denouncing the start of filling operations as a violation of Addis Ababa’s previous commitments.
Operations on the reservoir would have begun according to the Egyptian government at least two weeks before the letter was sent to its government, while Ethiopia’s commitments had given a probable date for the start of filling as late August or early September (https://dailynewsegypt.com/2022/07/31/ethiopias-third-filling-of-gerd-violates-international-law-expert/).
According to the Egyptian government, Ethiopia’s handling of the matter would be a blatant violation of the Security Council’s 2021 presidential statement, as well as recommendations that emerged at summits held under the auspices of the African Union in 2020.
On July 30, the U.S. State Department’s Horn of Africa envoy Mike Hammer also addressed the issue of the GERD dam with local authorities during his visit to Addis Ababa. Hammer confirmed to the press on the sidelines of the meetings how the U.S. is “actively engaged in supporting a diplomatic solution under the auspices of the African Union in order to meet the long-term needs of all the people bathed by the Nile.” This is a cautious and pragmatic stance, but one that does not hide Washington’s concerns about the evolving dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over the management of the dam.