Ethiopia bans flights over dam for security reasons, says aviation chief

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The National

The filling of the dam has caused a major rift with downstream states Sudan and Egypt

Ethiopia has banned all flights over its giant new hydropower dam on the Blue Nile for security reasons, the head of its civil aviation authority has said, as the president pledged the dam would begin generating power in the next 12 months.

The move could worsen Ethiopia’s dispute with Egypt and Sudan over its $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Cairo has said could threaten its main supply of water.

“All flights have been banned to secure the dam,” the director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, said on Monday. He declined to give more details on the reasons.

Later on Monday, in a speech to parliament, Ethiopia’s President Sahle Work Zewde said: “This year will be a year where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power with the two turbines.”

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She also said that work was underway to enable a second filling of the dam within the next 12 months.

In July, Ethiopia said it had achieved its first year of filling the dam thanks to rainfall in the area.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the United Nations last month that the country has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with the dam, days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi reiterated his concerns over the project.

Last week, air force chief Major General Yilma Merdasa told local media that Ethiopia was fully prepared to defend the dam from any attack.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

The dam is at the centre of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

The structure is about 15 km from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile – a tributary of the Nile river, which gives Egypt’s 100 million people about 90 per cent of their fresh water.

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The United States decided last month to cut $100 million in aid to Ethiopia amid the dispute over the dam. A US State Department official told Reuters at the time that the decision to pause some funding to Ethiopia was triggered by concern over Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to start filling the dam before an agreement.


  1. This is a great decision whereby to strike while the iron is hot. Out of the blue Ethiopian people anticipate for such kind of decision in which on the other hand it is off the cuff for rivals actions.

  2. Military helicopters were circling the dam by flying close to the ground at night time on Sunday night. These helicopters resembled the same identical Ethiopian military government helicopters seen shooting and massacring at least seven hundred people at the Irecchha celebration event in Bishoftu , Ethiopia on October the 2nd 2020.

    Very few Ethiopians and their YECHIN GEREDS Chinese were near the dam at the time these helicopters first appeared at the GERD, all of whom quickly hid to not be targeted by the helicopters so no death or shooting is reported. So far no explanation is given why the helicopters were present. Leaked insder source confirmed these helicopters were sent the Tigray military to show off that the Tigray military is so advanced, flying below radar sattelite all the way to GERD from Tigray without being detected by the federal military or other regional security apparatuses.

  3. Even the migratory Black and Grey Crowned Cranes have applied for an over pass and they have gotten the permission to do so. What can I say about those fire spitting and crafty patriots H.E. Dr. Seleshi, Gedu, Wesenyeleh and General Yilma Merdasa!!! Ok Bigots!!! This is for you!!! Na-nana-naa-nah!!!!!!!

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