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Egypt says Ethiopia’s intransigence led to failure of dam talks

April 7, 2021 at 12:21 pm

A general view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, on December 2019 [EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Getty Images]

The latest round of talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has led to no progress because Ethiopia refused a proposal which would have seen the formation of an international mediation quartet, the spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Talks on the dam were held over two days and ended yesterday and saw Addis Ababa rejecting all proposals and alternatives put forward by Egypt and supported by Sudan in order to move ahead with the negotiations process.

Egyptian spokesman Ahmed Hafez said Ethiopia also rejected a proposal to resume negotiations under the leadership of the Congolese president, who presides over the current session of the African Union (AU).

This, he added, reveals once again Ethiopia’s lack of political will to negotiate in good faith and reflects  Addis Ababa’s endeavour to procrastinate.

READ: Sudan delegation to visit UAE to discuss mediation initiative with Ethiopia

Ethiopia is building a $5 billion dam near the border with Sudan it says will provide the country with much-needed electricity and economic regeneration. Egypt believes it will restrict its access to Nile waters.

Egypt is almost entirely dependent on Nile water, receiving around 55.5 million cubic metres a year from the river, and believes that filling the dam will affect the water it needs for drinking, agriculture and electricity.

Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn’t and issued a statement to this effect.

There is also an unresolved issue over how fast the dam will be filled, with Egypt fearing if it is filled too quickly, it could affect the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam.

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]