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News, January 2021
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan Resume Nile Dam Talks
January 4, 2021
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume Nile dam talks
The three countries are seeking to resolve a row over the huge dam on the Blue Nile. The controversial structure has been almost a decade in the making but there is optimism a deal could be reached by the end of January.
The three African nations at the center of a spat over the controversial building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam resumed talks on Sunday, officials said.
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan reopened their years-long negotiations just six weeks after Sudan boycotted the last round of discussions. It had urged continental body the African Union to play a greater role in reaching a consensus over the disputed dam on the Blue Nile.
The three Nile Valley countries held a fresh round of talks by video conference in the virtual presence of South African officials, as well as other international observers. South Africa is the current head of the African Union's rotating council.
Hoping for a conclusion within weeks
"The meeting concluded ... that this week will be devoted to bilateral talks between the three countries, the experts, and the observers," Sudan's Water Ministry said in a statement.
This week's negotiations will pave the way "for the resumption of tripartite negotiations on Sunday January 10 in the hope of concluding by the end of January," the ministry added.
A concrete colossus
At 145 meters high and almost two kilometers long, the Grand Renaissance Dam is expected to become Ethiopia's biggest source of electricity. As Africa's largest hydroelectric power dam, it will produce more than 15,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity, beginning in 2022. It will source water from Africa's longest river, the Blue Nile.
The key sticking point surrounds the filling and operation of the vast reservoir behind the 145-meter-tall (475-foot-tall) hydropower project, which broke ground in 2011.
Ethiopia claims the hydroelectric power produced at the dam is essential for it to meet the energy needs of its population. Ethiopia also insists downstream countries' water supplies will not be adversely affected.
However, the other two countries at the resumed talks have expressed concerns.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for about 97% of its irrigation and drinking water, fears the dam would severely cut its water supplies.
Sudan is hopeful the dam will help ease flooding fears, but has also warned that millions of lives would be at "great risk" if no binding agreement was reached.Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume Nile dam talks | News | DW | 03.01.2021
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks over disputed dam
Officials say Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resumed their years-long negotiations over a controversial dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile
By The Associated Press January 3, 2021, 12:18 PM
The resumption came six weeks after Khartoum boycotted talks in November, urging the African Union to play a greater role in reaching a deal over the disputed Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.
The negotiations have centered on the filling and operation of the giant dam. Key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the three countries will resolve any future disputes. Ethiopia has rejected binding arbitration at the final stage of the project.
The foreign and irrigation ministers of the three Nile Valley countries met online Sunday, said Ahmed Hafez, the spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry. Sudan also confirmed the meeting.
Ethiopia’s Water and Energy Minister Seleshi Bekele said earlier the meeting was called by South Africa, the current head of the African Union, and that U.S. observers and AU experts would attend.
Sudan’s Irrigation Ministry said the three counties would hold separate talks with the AU experts and observers before a three-party meeting on Jan. 10.
In November, Sudan did not attend a round of talks called by South Africa, arguing that the current approach to reaching a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s dam had not yielded results.
Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said at the time that the AU should do more to “facilitate the negotiation and bridge the gap between the three parties.”
Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions between the three nations.
Egypt has called it an existential threat and worries that it will reduce the country’s share of Nile waters.
The Arab's world most populous country relies almost entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its more than 100 million people. About 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia.
Ethiopia says the $4.6 billion dam will be an engine of development that will pull millions of people out of poverty. Sudan, in the middle, worries about the effects on its own dams, although it stands to benefit from access to cheap electricity.Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks over disputed dam - ABC News (go.com)
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