Work under way on the Renaissance Dam (Jacey Fortin/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Egypt calls for mediation as talks on Ethiopia’s Nile dam hit deadlock

7 October 2019 | By GCR Staff | 1 Comment

Egypt has said talks with Ethiopia and Sudan over the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Ethiopia is building on a main tributary to the Nile River, have hit a deadlock, and called for mediation from another country.

“Talks have reached a deadlock as a result of the Ethiopian side’s inflexibility,” the Egyptian ministry of water resources and irrigation said in a statement after the latest round of tripartite talks ended Saturday, 5 October in Khartoum without resolution, reports Reuters. 

“Egypt has called for involving an international party in the Renaissance Dam negotiations to mediate between the three countries and help...reaching a fair and balanced agreement,” the statement said.

Egypt did not say who should mediate, but Reuters said the Egyptian presidency has called on the US to play “an active role in this regard”.

The 6,450MW dam is being built on the Blue Nile, one of two main tributaries to the main Nile River, in the Benshangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia, near the border with Sudan. Work began in 2011 and was due to be completed within five years.

Egypt, which relies on the Nile for nearly all its water, is worried that Ethiopia’s plan to fill the reservoir in three years rather that Egypt’s preferred time frame of up to 10 years would dangerously restrict the flow of water.

In a statement on 3 October the White House said: “The United States supports Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan’s ongoing negotiations to reach a cooperative, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. All Nile Valley countries have a right to economic development and prosperity.

“The Administration calls on all sides to put forth good faith efforts to reach an agreement that preserves those rights, while simultaneously respecting each other’s Nile water equities.” 

Image: Work under way on the Renaissance Dam (Jacey Fortin/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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