Egypt has expressed anger after Ethiopia said it had filled the reservoir at a fiercely contested hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile river.
The north African country emphasised that Ethiopia has shown disregard for the interests and rights of the downstream countries and their water security, as guaranteed by principles of international law.
Since the project’s inception in 2011, Ethiopia has been at odds with Egypt and Sudan. Egypt gets nearly all of its water from the Nile.
In a statement on Facebook, the Egyptian foreign ministry said Ethiopia’s “unilateral” filling of the reservoir violated a declaration of principles signed by the three countries in 2015, and branded Ethiopia’s action “illegal”.
“The declaration of principles stipulates the necessity of the three countries reaching an agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Gerd before commencing the filling process,” the statement said.
“Ethiopia’s unilateral measures are considered a disregard for the interests and rights of the downstream countries and their water security, as guaranteed by principles of international law.”
Ethiopia earlier said that the $4.2 billion dam will not reduce its share of Nile water.
It anticipates that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) will increase the country’s electrical output, offering a critical development boost as half of the 127-million-strong population currently lacks access to electricity.
Sudan, which is now embroiled in conflict between rival forces, has yet to respond to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s announcement on Sunday.