Cairo, Addis Ababa, Khartoum resume talks on Ethiopia’s controversial mega-dam

A brand new spherical of talks between three African nations started Saturday, officers stated, aimed toward resolving a years-long dispute over a large dam Ethiopia is constructing on the Nile River’s most important tributary.

The three-day talks are happening in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the present chair of the African Union. The AU is mediating the negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry stated in an announcement that Cairo desires the negotiations to finally result in a legally binding settlement over the operation and filling of the dam’s huge reservoir.

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Foreign and irrigation ministers of the three nations have been attending the talks, together with specialists from the African Union, based on Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele.

Sudan stated it could participate within the Kinshasa spherical with an purpose of agreeing on a “negotiating approach” to make sure the talks could be constructive. That would come with an Egyptian-backed Sudanese proposal to incorporate the US, European Union and United Nations as mediators together with the AU, the Foreign Ministry stated in an announcement.

Ethiopia has rejected the proposal, saying it “believes in resolving African problems by Africans.”

The dispute facilities on the pace at which a deliberate reservoir is crammed behind the dam, the tactic of its annual replenishment, and the way a lot water Ethiopia will launch downstream if a multi-year drought happens. Another level of distinction is how the three international locations would settle any future disputes.

Egypt and Sudan desire a legally binding settlement on the dam’s filling and operation, whereas Ethiopia insists on tips.

The talks in Kinshasa come a couple of days after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi stated his nation’s share of Nile River waters have been “untouchable” — a stark warning apparently to Ethiopia, which is getting ready for an additional stage of the dam’s filling later this yr.

Al-Sissi warned Tuesday of “instability that no one can imagine” within the area if the dam’s is crammed and operated with out a legally binding settlement.

Bekele, the Ethiopian minister, stated his nation “as always is determined for principled, equitable and reasonable utilization without causing significant harm,” based on Ethiopia’s official information company.

Egypt is a principally desert nation that relies on the Nile for nearly all of its water wants. It fears {that a} fast fill would drastically cut back the Nile’s circulation, with probably extreme results on its agriculture and different sectors.

Ethiopia says the $5 billion dam is crucial, arguing that the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants lacks electrical energy. The dam will generate over 6,400 megawatts of electrical energy, a large increase to the nation’s present manufacturing of 4,000 megawatts.

Sudan desires Ethiopia to coordinate and share information on the dam’s operation to keep away from flooding and shield its personal power-generating dams on the Blue Nile, the primary tributary of the Nile River. The Blue Nile meets with the White Nile in central Sudan. From there the Nile winds northward via Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

Read extra:

Sisi warns Ethiopia against continuing to fill Nile Dam during visit to Sudan

‘We don’t want war’ with Sudan, PM Abiy tells Ethiopia’s parliament

Sudan’s cabinet backs UAE mediation initiative in border, dam disputes with Ethiopia

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