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Nile Dam talks ended without ‘complete’ agreement

Nile Dam talks ended without ‘complete’ agreement

This week, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt have failed again to reach an agreement on the key issues for the scheduled negotiations. All three sides are still disputing on different aspects of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) reported.

The ministerial meeting on Wednesday has gathered the representatives of all three North African nations. Despite the presence of each country’s irrigation minister, there was no positive dynamic on GERD key issues.

Wednesday meeting became a part of the one-week talks sponsored by the African Union (AU) with the aim of reviving negotiations stalled since August.

As the Ethiopian irrigation ministry said in the statement, “the three countries reached an understanding to resort to the chairperson of the AU Executive Council and the minister of international relations and cooperation of South Africa to consult on the next steps of the negotiation.”

During the meeting, each country put forward its proposal for the upcoming GERD talks. Ethiopia started to build an ambitious hydropower project in 2011, and nine years after, the country continues to make propositions to bridge the positions of the three African nations.

Meantime, Egypt and Sudan have separately announced the tripartite meeting saw incompatibility on the methodology for completing negotiations.

The GERD, built 15 km from the Ethiopian border with Sudan, has been a source of contention between the three sides. Egypt that has more than 85 per cent of its Nile water flow from Ethiopian highlands fears the massive dam will significantly diminish its crucial water supplies, which are already below scarcity level, from the River Nile, while Sudan fears the GERD could endanger the safety of its own dams.

In its turn, Ethiopia says the 6,000-MWt dam is key to its development and hopes to become Africa’s biggest electricity exporter with the GERD, which is set to be the continent’s largest dam.