Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan continue negotiations on a dam on the Nile
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Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan continue negotiations on a dam on the Nile

On September 10, Ethiopia announced the end of filling the Grand Renaissance Dam, prompting immediate condemnation from Cairo, which denounced the illegality of the approach.

Egypt and Sudan consider the massive dam, which cost $4.2 billion, a threat to their water supplies. They have repeatedly asked Addis Ababa to stop filling it until an agreement is reached on how it will operate.

Negotiations between the three countries, suspended since April 2021, resumed on August 27.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed in July to finalize the deal within four months.

“The second round of tripartite negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan regarding (…) the annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) began today, September 23, 2023, in Addis Ababa,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on X (formerly Twitter).

“Ethiopia is committed to finding an amicable and amicable solution within the ongoing trilateral process,” he added.

The dam has been at the center of regional conflict since Ethiopia began construction in 2011.

Egypt views the dam as an existential threat, as it relies on the Nile for 97% of its water needs.

The dam is central to Ethiopia’s development plans, and in February 2022, Addis Ababa announced that it had started generating electricity for the first time.

At full capacity, the huge hydroelectric plant, 1.8 kilometers long and 145 meters high, should produce more than 5,000 megawatts. This would double Ethiopia’s electricity production, which only half of the country’s 120 million people currently have access to.

The position of Sudan, currently in the grip of civil war, has fluctuated in recent years.

The United Nations estimates that Egypt could “run out of water by 2025” and that parts of Sudan, where the conflict in Darfur has been largely linked to access to water, are increasingly vulnerable to drought due to climate change.

By Le360 Africa (with AFP)

23.09.2023 at 18:32

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