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As new negotiations arise between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt which was purposely to discuss the long – running fight on building the giant dam on the Blue Nile at Addis Ababa has collapsed once again.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been a source of tension in the Nile River basin ever since Ethiopia broke ground on it in 2011, with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan worried it will restrict vital water supplies.
This long-run dispute is still ongoing even after the vast reservoir behind the 475 foot dam which began filling in July.
Report on the SUNA news agency had it that the three countries finally agreed to meet to reach one potential mindset which aimed to fulling and operating the reservoir. However, the virtual meeting held last week ended up in chaotic manner– “failed to reach an acceptable agreement to resume negotiations.”
On January 8, a letter reached Khartoum, the capital of Sudan from Ethiopia to the African Union which specifically stated that Ethiopia was well determined to operate and fill the reservoir for the second year in July– maximum of 13.5 million cubic metres of water were to be used. To them, they don’t care whether an agreement is reached or not.
“We cannot continue this vicious cycle of circular talks indefinitely,” Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas said in a statement.
Egypt and Ethiopia having put their differences aside blamed Sudanese objections to the framework for the talks for the news impasse.
According to Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Sudan has done nothing but objected to their terms of reference and refused to include the experts in the meeting.
Al Jazeera reports wrote that, “Sudan insisted on the assigning of African Union experts to offer solutions to contentious issues … a proposal which Egypt and Ethiopia have reservations about,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Naledi Pandor, the foreign minister of South Africa – which chairs the African Union, voiced her “regret that the talks reached a dead end”, according to the Sudan News Agency.
Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa, said the hydroelectric power produced by the dam will be vital to meet the power needs of its 110 million people and help reduce poverty levels.
To the Egyptian, they see the dam to be essential as the Nile nearly supports all its irrigation and drinking water.
Khartoum has hoped Ethiopia’s dam will regulate annual flooding, but has also warned that millions of lives would be at “great risk” if no agreement was reached.
It said the water discharged from GERD dam “poses a direct threat” to the safety of Sudan’s Roseires Dam downstream on the Blue Nile.
The Nile, the world’s longest river, is a lifeline supplying both water and electricity to the 10 countries it traverses.
Its main tributaries, the White and Blue Nile, converge in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, before flowing north through Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.
Source: Al Jazeera.