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Egypt, Sudan join new military drill amid Ethiopia dam crisis  

May 24, 2021 at 4:07 pm

A general view of the the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), near Guba in Ethiopia, on December 26, 2019 [EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images]

The new joint drill dubbed Guardians of the Nile is expected to be held by Egypt and Sudan amid rising tensions with Ethiopia over its Renaissance Dam project.

The manoeuvre is of great political and military importance, as Ethiopia insists on starting the second phase of filling the dam in July.

The new manoeuvre will be held from 26-31 May, with the participation of land, air and sea forces from both sides in Sudan.

According to a statement issued by the Sudanese army, the joint drill aims to exchange military expertise, strengthen unilateral cooperation and unify working methods to address the anticipated threats preying on the two countries.

Ethiopia renews commitment to AU mediation in dam talks - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Ethiopia renews commitment to AU mediation in dam talks – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

This is the third such military exercise between the two countries and the name is thought to be a sign of their determination to protect their water share from the Nile River.

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.

READ: Egypt considers alternatives as Renaissance Dam second filling looms