The latest round of talks between Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt aimed at resolving the dispute around the giant Nile dam has broken down once again, reported Anadolu Agency.
Sudan’s official news agency said that Naledi Pandor, the foreign minister of South Africa, which chairs the African Union, expressed regret over the deadlock.
A meeting began between the irrigation and foreign ministers of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia and experts from the African Union on Sunday to discuss issues related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The virtual meeting discussed the rules and regulations for filling and operating the $5 billion dam. But the meeting ended without any desired results.
On Saturday, Yasir Abbas, the Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister convened a virtual meeting with experts from the African Union on the dam’s filling. He said Khartoum cannot continue with the negotiations without an agreement.
“We cannot continue with this vicious cycle of circular talks indefinitely given the direct threat posed by the GERD to (Sudan’s) Roseires Dam, the storage capacity of which is less than 10 percent of that of the GERD if it is filled and operated without agreement or daily exchange of data,” Abbas said.
Egypt and Ethiopia blamed the Sudanese government’s objections for the failure of the talks.
Sudan objected and refused to include the experts in the meeting, effectively halting the talks, the Ethiopian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“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.
Egypt is against the construction of the dam since its construction began in 2011, saying the hydro scheme would reduce the flow of water downstream. Ethiopia claims that 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.