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Egypt ready to resume Nile dam talks with 'very flexible' proposals

Egyptian Minister of Water Resources, Mohamed Abdul Ati attends the talks on Hidase (Nahda) Dam, built on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, between Sudan and Egypt in Khartoum, Sudan on 4 October 2019 [Mahmoud Hajaj / Anadolu Agency]
Egyptian Minister of Water Resources, Mohamed Abdul Ati attends the talks on Hidase (Nahda) Dam, built on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, between Sudan and Egypt in Khartoum, Sudan on 4 October 2019 [Mahmoud Hajaj / Anadolu Agency]

Egypt is willing to resume negotiations over the dam that Ethiopia is constructing on the Nile River and it is proposing “very flexible” settlements, the country’s Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty said in an interview with a private Egyptian TV channel.

Abdel Aty added that by taking the dispute over the Nile waters’ quotas to the UN Security Council, Egypt does not aim to cause problems for Ethiopia.

He asserted that his country hopes for a quick resumption of negotiations.

Egypt, the third most populous country in Africa with a population of 102 million, depends on the Nile for its water needs. Ethiopia, the second most populous country in the continent with a population of 114 million, says it has built the dam to help meet its energy needs and does not wish to affect its neighbours’ water supplies.

Abdel Aty said in the TV interview, “We did not go to the Security Council to cause a problem, but to push parties to return to negotiations and reach an agreement, and to let other countries know that failing to do so will cause tensions for a long time.”

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Cairo, Abdel Aty said, is prepared for such a meeting with “very flexible” proposals for settlements that would lead to cooperation and integration between countries, including with regard to development.

Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in 2011 on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River, near the border with Sudan.

The construction of the 147-meter (482 feet) high, 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) long project is expected to be completed by 2023.

With a reservoir capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, the hydroelectric dam will produce 6,475 megawatts for Ethiopia’s domestic and industrial use, as well as export to neighbouring countries.

Read: Sudan repels Ethiopian border attack

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