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AU chairs Renaissance Dam meeting between Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia

A view from opening session of the 33rd African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 9 February 2020 [Mınasse Wondımu Haılu/Anadolu Agency]
A view from opening session of the 33rd African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 9 February 2020 [Mınasse Wondımu Haılu/Anadolu Agency]

The African Union is chairing a virtual meeting between leaders from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan in the latest attempt to reach an agreement over the Renaissance Dam.

Leaders of the three countries have held multiple talks hosted by various leaders and institutions over the past ten years, but little progress has been made.

After the US and the World Bank tried and failed to get Ethiopia to sign an agreement with Egypt at the beginning of the year, the AU stepped in and said it would try to help the three countries find a solution.

Ethiopia has said it would prefer to negotiate under the AU than the UN.

The meeting today, led by AU chair and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, will also include officials from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Mali and observers from the US, the EU and the World Bank.

Ethiopia wants to go ahead with filling the reservoir of the dam, which it believes will lift its 110 million population out of poverty.

READ: Egypt must accept that the Nile belongs to Ethiopia and 8 other African states

Egypt and Sudan want a legally binding agreement on the terms of filling the reservoir.

Egypt relies on the Nile for 90 per cent of its water supply whilst Sudan wants to know how much water will flow downstream as it is concerned that the operation of the dam will damage its own dams.

In 1929 the British government recognised Egypt's historical rights to the Nile waters and gave Egypt a veto over projects taking place along the Nile.

Thirty years later, the outcome of an agreement between Egypt and Sudan was that Egypt would take the largest share of the Nile's resources. Ethiopia considers this a "historical injustice" and does not want to make concessions granted by colonialism.

READ: Egypt, South Africa discuss need to reach agreement on Renaissance Dam

Over the past week Sudan reported a sudden drop in Nile water which some analysts said could be because Ethiopia has started filling the reservoir.

On Wednesday reports said that Ethiopia's water minister announced on TV that Ethiopia had started filling the dam.

The state-owned broadcaster apologised for the comments whilst Ethiopia's Charge d'Affaires Mekonnen Gossaye said that the reports were not correct and that Ethiopia had not closed the gates of the dam and the build-up of water was due to the rainy season.

Never-ending fight between Egypt/Ethiopia and Sudan over the Renaissance Dam - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Never-ending fight between Egypt/Ethiopia and Sudan over the Renaissance Dam – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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AfricaAfrican UnionEgyptEthiopiaInternational OrganisationsNewsSudan
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