Tag: Addis Ababa

Trilateral Talks Lead To Stalemate Over River Nile Dam Project Again
Middle East & Africa

Trilateral Talks Lead To Stalemate Over River Nile Dam Project Again

Nile Dam Project: The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam is not going to be the cementing force between three nations after all. Despite conversations back and forth between the leaders, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are unable to come to a common agreement ground. 

The bone of contention is- which country should be allowed to dominate the experts’ committee. Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said his government insists on maximizing the role of AU experts to have them facilitate the negotiations and bridge the gaps between the three countries. The African Union (AU) is headquartered in Ethiopia. 

But the three countries’ discussion has hit a stalemate when Sudan’s special request to interact with the experts committee was rejected by both Cairo and Addis Ababa. 

On January 3, Sudan had filed a request to arrange a bilateral meeting with the African Union experts before the tripartite ministerial meeting on January 10. Now, the three nations cannot come to common ground over Ethiopia deciding to release water in the dam, as Sudan fears for the safety of its existing dams. 

For Egypt, the Blue Nile is the lifeline. With a population of over 100million, Egypt’s dependency on the Nile is heavy. It uses the river’s water for domestic and agricultural purposes. It therefore believes its role in the dam’s construction is of paramount importance to the existence of the Egyptian people itself.  Almost 85percent of the Blue Nile originates from Ethiopia, which has suggested the plan to construct the dam.

The dam would connect the Blue with the White Nile that originates from Sudan. The construction would actually be able to pull many people out of misery and poverty. For one, it would solve the electricity problem for inhabitants near the river. Another Egyptian and Sudanese insecurity circles around whether Ethiopia would release more water to them, as and when a drought like situation arises. Droughts are becoming common to these nations due to the changing environmental conditions. 

Ironically, the dam is being financed by Ethiopia itself. Technically, it should be the country calling the shorts. Additionally, the dam will also generate 12000 new jobs, apart from generating almost 15,128GWh of power a year from when it becomes operational. This would increase Ethiopia’s power generation capacity four times from its previous capacity. 

Almost 75 percent of the project was completed in July 2020. 

Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia resume talks over Nile dam dispute
Middle East & Africa

Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia resume talks over Nile dam dispute

Nile dam dispute: Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have agreed on resuming negotiations to settle the Nile dam dispute

Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on Sunday agreed on resuming talks to resolved the long-running dispute over the massive dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa. 

According to Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez, foreign and irrigation ministers of the three countries met online to hold fresh talks to negotiate the deal. The meeting was called by the current head of the African Union (AU), South Africa. As per a statement released by Sudan’s water ministry, officials, experts and observers from the three countries, AU and the United States participated in the virtual conference.

The statement also confirmed that this week’s discussions are aimed at concluding the negotiations to reach a deal by the end of January 2021. 

“The talks will pave way for the resumption of tripartite negotiations on Sunday, January 10 in the hope of concluding by the end of January,” the ministry said, as quoted by reports. 

Earlier attempts to initiate three-way negotiations to enter an agreement between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia failed after Khartoum did not attend the talks called by South Africa in November 2020.

The dispute refers to a 2011 hydropower project centering to the filling and operation of the huge reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The largest hydroelectric dam in Africa has caused unprecedented tensions between the three countries in the region. 

Egypt is fearing that the dam would gravely impact its source of water, noting that 97 percent of its drinking and irrigation water come from the Nile. Sudan, on the other hand, has warned that several lives would be affected in the region in the absence of a concrete deal.

Egypt and Sudan have also expressed concerns over the amount of water Ethiopia will release downstream in case of a multi-year drought. In this regard, both countries have called for a legally binding agreement to resolved the dispute.

However, the Addis Ababa government has insisted that downstream water supplies to these countries will not be affected. In its defence, Ethiopia, the second-most-populous country in Africa, has also maintained that its 110 million people is significantly dependent on the hydroelectric power produced at the $4.6 billion dam.

After weeks of boycotting the talks, Sudan urged the African Union to intervene in the negotiations to reach a deal. 

In July 2020, Ethiopia has announced that it successfully reached its first-year target for filling the dam’s reservoir. 

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