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Sudan blames Egypt for 'failure' Renaissance Dam negotiations; Egypt responds

Image of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia [file photo]
Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia [file photo]

On Thursday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry refused to be held responsible for the failure of the latest round of negotiations over the Renaissance Dam in Khartoum.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry declared in a statement: “We reject recent statements by official spokesman for the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry, Meles Alem, and Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Ghandur,  that blame Egypt for failure of the last negotiations over the Renaissance Dam in Khartoum. ”

The spokesperson, Ahmed Abu Zeid, went on, “Egypt has eagerly participated in the meeting of the nine in Khartoum and has seriously aspired for an agreement for the technical completion of the Renaissance Dam.”

By “the meeting of the nine,” the Egyptian spokesman refers to a meeting of nine officials from the three countries (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia), who are the ministers of irrigation, foreign affairs and general intelligence chiefs.

Abu Zeid revealed that Sameh Shukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, sent a message to his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts to call for a second meeting of the nine in Cairo to pursue the discussions.

Read: Egypt, Ethiopia to resume talks on Renaissance Dam

Yet, Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Meles Alem, told a press conference “The reason behind the failure of the Khartoum negotiations is the lack of seriousness and cooperation on the part of the Egyptian side in addition to bringing up the 1959 agreement during the negotiations.”

The agreement, signed between Sudan and Egypt, gives Cairo an annual amount of 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water, while Khartoum would receive 18.5 billion cubic meters.

Alem stressed that “the lack of seriousness and cooperation from the Egyptians and bringing up the 1959 Convention led to the lack of consensus about a joint resolution on the Renaissance Dam between the three countries.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry announced that Khartoum’s negotiations “have not produced a specific trajectory, nor has it yielded any results,” without giving any justification for that.

Read: Sudan announces failure of Ethiopian Dam talks

The Khartoum meeting is the first since Cairo has declared, in November 2017, to freeze the negotiations after it rejected amendments that Addis Ababa and Khartoum wanted to include in the French Advisory Office studies about the dam-filling activities and the way it should operate.

Cairo fears a possible negative impact of the Renaissance Dam on its annual share of the Nile, Egypt’s main water source; while Addis Ababa says that the dam will be highly profitable, especially when exploited in the production of electricity, and will not affect the downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt.

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