The latest talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GRED) ended with no progress made.
Hosted by the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa, the meeting between the forigen ministers (of the three countries) was aimed at breaking the deadlock over Ethiopia’s massive dam on the Nile river.
Egypts Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ethiopia had a “lack of political will to negotiate in good faith,” even though the three countries were seeking to find some common ground.
Egypt’s foreign ministry added that the talks failed after Ethiopia rejected a Sudanese proposal to include international mediators in talks.
“This position reveals once again Ethiopia’s lack of political will to negotiate in good faith,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Sudan’s forigen minister said that Ethiopia’s unilateral moves over the dam were a clear violation of International Law.
“Without a new approach to negotiations, there becomes space for Ethiopia to impose a fait accompli and put all the peoples of the region in grave danger,” Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi told reporters.
Major Striking Point
The objective of the talks was to come up with a roadmap for negotiation to continue before Ethiopia fills the dam for the second time.
“Sudan and Egypt on one side want the mediation to expand to include the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union – who are right now holding the role of observers – rather than the mediator,” said Al Jazeera’s reporter Hiba Morgan.
She continued that Ethiopia wants the GREd talks to be led solely by African Union.
“Ethiopia also said that Egypt and Sudan came up with points that were not part of the agenda, such as postponing the filling of the GERD until a deal is reached,” she added.
“The conflict will continue to escalate and I think there will have to be an intervention at a higher level,” saidAllam Ahmed, founding president of the World Association of Sustainable Development.
Problems The GERD dam has caused
Ethiopia is building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) dam on the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan to become the Nile River, and about 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia.
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.
The prolonged dispute has continued even after the vast reservoir behind the 145-metre-tall (475-foot) dam began filling in July.
The three countries – Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia – have been engaging in talks for nine years which witnessed reciprocal accusations between Egypt and Ethiopia of attempting to impose unrealistic solutions.
Egypt, which depends on the Nile for nearly all of its irrigation and drinking water, has viewed the dam as an existential threat. Saying the hydro scheme would reduce the flow of water downstream. Ethiopia maintains the dam would be vital to addressing the country’s acute shortage in electricity, the country needs for domestic and industrial use.
Sudan, in the middle between Ethiopia and Egypt, worries that the dam would affect its own dams, though it stands to benefit from access to possible cheap electricity.
Key questions in the negotiations remain on how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the three countries would settle any future disputes. Egypt and Sudan call for a legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation, while Ethiopia insists on guidelines.