by WorldTribune Staff, May 9, 2018
Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over a massive Nile River dam project ended last week with no agreement reached.
Technical talks among irrigation ministers of the three countries in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, ended with no deal, Hossam el-Emam, a spokesperson for Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry, told The Associated Press.
Egypt, which gets nearly all of its fresh water from the Nile, fears the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will cut into Cairo’s share of the river. Ethiopia says the dam is essential for its economic development.
The $4.8 billion dam is 63 percent finished, and Ethiopia hopes to become a key energy hub in Africa upon its completion.
Ethiopia and Sudan continue to insist on modifications to a technical report by a French firm commissioned to assess the dam’s impact, el-Emam said.
“Such modifications get it out of its context,” he said, adding that there may be another round of talks on May 15. “We hope to make a breakthrough in the coming meeting … Time is not in our favor.”
Sudan appears to be taking Ethiopia’s side in the negotiations, and has revived a longstanding border dispute with Egypt, the spokesman said.
Egypt has received the lion’s share of the Nile’s waters under decades-old agreements seen by other Nile basin nations as unfair.
Past Egyptian presidents have warned that any attempt to build dams along the Nile will be met with military action, but Egypt’s current leader, President Abdul Fatah Sisi, has ruled that out.
Last month, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned that Cairo “will not accept the status quo” and “continues to defend the interests of its people regarding the Nile by several means.”