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Egypt attempts to gain written guarantees from Ethiopia over Renaissance Dam

December 9, 2019 at 1:22 pm

The Egyptian foreign minister and the minister of water resources will attempt to gain a written understanding that Ethiopia will not take a decision on the management and operation of the Renaissance Dam without consulting all the relevant parties, sources have told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

A meeting is scheduled to take place today in Washington between the Egyptian Water Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry as well as ministers from Sudan and Ethiopia. It will take place under the supervision of the US and representatives from the World Bank will also attend.

It is part of four rounds of talks as part of an agreement reached between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, brokered by the US, aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations over the dam.

Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam on the Blue Nile it says is vital for the supply of electricity in the country but Egypt fears the dam will stem the flow of the Nile which provides roughly 90 per cent of its water supply.

However, the talks have had little success. In October Egypt called for a mediator after three-way talks with Sudan and Ethiopia failed to produce an agreement over years of meetings.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has warned that if there was a war with Egypt over the dam, millions of Ethiopians would be ready to defend their country.

In a meeting held in Cairo at the beginning of December no conclusive results were reached over the technical issues of filling and operating the dam.

The two countries have hit a number of obstacles whilst negotiating the terms of the dam, including on the rules for filling and operating it.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, at the Washington-based meeting today Egypt want Ethiopia to commit to specific framework regarding the operation of the dam and the volume of water inside it. Ethiopia has so far refused to do this which the same sources say has been one of the biggest obstacles to negotiations so far.

At the meeting today Egypt want to include a proposal which does not specify the number of years it takes to fill the reservoir and the dam, which Ethiopia wants to do. Operating the dam should be adapted according to hydrological conditions, the volume of rain and floods, the annual flow rate and the critical level of water in the Aswan Dam reservoir.

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