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Ethiopia girds to fill GERD regardless, Abiy jabs anti-democratic forces

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Ethiopia will proceed with filling of its gigantic dam on the Blue Nile despite inconclusive talks with impacted neighbours, Sudan and Egypt.

Addressing lawmakers on Tuesday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that recent domestic unrest would not derail government’s plan to fill the dam. “If Ethiopia doesn’t fill the dam, it means Ethiopia has agreed to demolish the dam,” he told lawmakers.

Touching on recent unrest in the country following the death of a prominent musician, he reiterated that it was part of a plot to derail the country’s democratization project. “If Ethiopia becomes like Syria, if Ethiopia becomes like Libya, everybody loses.”

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, has been a source of tension in the Nile basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it nearly a decade ago.

Ethiopia says the project is essential for its development. Addis Ababa has been vocal about its plans to start filling the reservoir this month.

According to Egypt the construction of the dam endangers the lives of 150 million Egyptians and Sudanese. The Nile is a lifeline, supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it passes through.

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