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Egypt asks Nigeria to mediate dam dispute

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari [Chatham House/Flickr]

The speaker of Egypt’s parliament has asked the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to mediate its dispute with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam, reports Bloomberg.

In a meeting yesterday with the Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Ali Abdel Aal said that relations between Egypt and Nigeria were progressing.

The $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan is currently under construction on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile. Ethiopia plans to begin filling the reservoir next year but Egypt is concerned this will reduce its share of the Nile water and threaten its own supplies.

Egypt relies on the Nile for roughly 90 per cent of its irrigation and drinking water needs and claims historic rights to the water as enshrined in two treaties, one from 1929 and one from 1959.

The UN has predicted Egypt will suffer water shortages from 2025.

Egypt says it has tried all avenues to resolve the dispute with Ethiopia and Sudan, which Ethiopia denies, asserting that the dam is essential for its own economic development.

Egypt wants Ethiopia to release 40 billion cubic metres of water, whilst Ethiopia wants to release 30 billion.

READ: Egypt, Ethiopia agree to resume technical discussions on Grand Renaissance Dam

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, has said that “no force could stop Ethiopia building the dam” and if the two countries go to war over the dam, millions of Ethiopians would  be ready to defend their country.

During a meeting on the sidelines of the African-Russia summit in Sochi last week General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi raised the demand for a mediator when he met the Ethiopian prime minister.

Egypt have also put forward the suggestions of the World Bank, the US, or Europe. Russia has stepped forward and offered to mediate.

The US has issued an invitation to Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to a meeting on 6 November to try and negotiate the dispute over the dam, which Egypt immediately accepted.

Ethiopia has previously rejected having a mediator and accused Egypt of trying to sidestep the process.

Last week the two leaders agreed to resume work on the technical committee to agree on the operating terms.

READ: Egypt accepts invitation to meet in US over Ethiopia dam dispute

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