CAIRO, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Egypt on Wednesday urged Ethiopia to respect the Nile River downstream countries' water rights over the handling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said in a statement that the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has made a "misleading" assertion by saying agreements signed in the colonial period were "defunct."
He urged the Ethiopian side to stop using such a claim to evade its international obligations to downstream countries over its operation of GERD.
On Monday, the Ethiopian ministry issued a statement protesting a new resolution adopted by the Arab League (AL) calling on Ethiopia to abandon its "unilateral filling and operation" of the dam, which would harm Egypt's and Sudan's interests.
The ministry slammed Egypt for exerting pressure on Ethiopia via the AL forum, calling Egypt to stop citing "defunct colonial agreements" as the basis of its claim, without detailing.
As a response, Abu Zeid said the "colonial agreements" were signed in 1902 between Britain as the representative of Egypt and Sudan and Ethiopia when the latter was "a fully sovereign state."
"The Ethiopian FM statement is a desperate attempt to drive a wedge between the Arab and African countries by portraying Arab support for Egypt's just and responsible position as an Arab-African dispute," Abu Zeid added.
Ethiopia started building the dam in 2011 which was expected to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity, while Egypt and Sudan, both downstream Nile Basin countries, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.
The GERD negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been suspended since April 2021, following marathon talks that lasted for years without yielding results. ■