Egypt and Sudan have said that talks over a controversial dam on the Nile River would resume yesterday, amid Egyptian accusations that Ethiopia has sought to scrap “all agreements and deals” they had previously reached, and that “many fundamental issues” remain rejected by Ethiopia, the third party to the talks.
The construction of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which is more than 70 percent complete and promises to provide much-needed electricity to Ethiopia’s 100 million people, has been a contentious point among the three main Nile Basin countries.
The three countries have been holding talks for years without reaching a deal. Those talks came to an acrimonious halt in February when Ethiopia rejected a US-crafted deal and accused the Trump administration of siding with Egypt.
Ethiopia wants to begin filling the dam’s reservoir in coming weeks, but Egypt has raised concerns that filling the reservoir behind the dam too quickly could significantly reduce the amount of Nile water available to Egypt.
After months of deadlock, Sudanese, Egyptian and Ethiopian water and irrigation ministers resumed talks last week, with observers attending from the US, the European Union and South Africa, which is the current head of the African Union.
Sudan’s irrigation ministry said Saturday’s talks focused on technical matters of the dam’s operation and the filling of its massive reservoir during rainy seasons and droughts. It said it will craft a draft paper based on Egyptian and Ethiopian notes to be discussed on Monday.
Egypt’s irrigation ministry said the June 9-13 talks revealed the differences that remain with Ethiopia.
These issues included Ethiopia’s “total” rejection of addressing technical issues related to “the mitigation measures for droughts and prolonged droughts and measures to address prolonged dry years,” the ministry statement said. Ethiopia rejected “the inclusion of a legally binding dispute resolution mechanism,” it said. — Reuters