Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to resume negotiations on controversial dam


Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resume negotiations on the filling and operation of a controversial dam on the Blue Nile, officials said on Tuesday.

"The countries are expected to discuss and finalise in the coming seven days the way forward and the workable timeline for the negotiation and to narrow gaps on outstanding issues," Ethiopia's
foreign ministry said in a statement.

The decision comes after the foreign ministers and ministers of water affairs of the three African nations held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, facilitated by the African Union and South Africa.

It will be yet another round of talks in an ongoing saga of start-and-stop negotiations between the three Nile basin countries, aiming to resolve the years-long dispute about the hydroelectric Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday added fuel to the fire by suggesting Egypt may "blow up" the mega dam Ethiopia has been building since 2010. Trump accused Ethiopia of breaking a deal he had worked on to resolve the dispute and said he has since cut off millions of dollars in aid to Addis Ababa.

The dam has caused animosity, particularly with Egypt, which is concerned about the control of water flow. 

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, and Sudan are seeking a legally binding deal that would guarantee appropriate flows of water and a legal mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.

Ethiopia wants the dam to boost its power exports, whereas Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for farming, industry and domestic water use.

In August, Ethiopia celebrated the first filling of the dam thanks to seasonal rainfall.    (dpa)

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