Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan set one month deadline for Nile dam talks

The leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on Monday set a one-month deadline
for laying out the ways to break a deadlock in talks over a mega dam Addis
Ababa is building along its share of the Nile, an official said.

Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the Grand
Renaissance Dam, a four billion dollars hydroelectric project that Cairo fears
will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s
highlands and via Sudan.

Ethiopia, which is financing the project alone and hopes to become the
continent’s biggest power generator and exporter, dismisses the claims.

Nile Dam  (Photo credit: Africa Review)

Sudan supports the dam because it will regulate floods and provide
electricity and irrigation.

Talks between the three governments have stalled for months over
disagreement on the wording of a study on the dam’s environmental impact.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his Sudanese counterpart Omar
Hassan al-Bashir met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the
sidelines of an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“They instructed their water and energy ministers to draw up in one month a
report that thrashes out ways to resolve all outstanding issues regarding the
dam,” an Ethiopian official who attended the talks told Reuters.

He said the leaders have also agreed to hold heads of state meetings
annually, and to set up a fund with the aim of building infrastructure such as
a railway linking the three countries.

At the meeting, Hailemariam said the project “was never intended to harm any
country but to fulfil vital electricity needs and enhance development
cooperation in the region”, according to a report by state-run Ethiopian
Broadcasting Corporation.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to finish the initial technical study
within one month, the Egyptian state news agency said, citing the foreign
minister.

 

Tensions over the use of the world’s longest river have long simmered
between the Egypt and Ethiopia, raising fears the disputes could eventually
boil over into conflict.

A major source of disagreement over the construction of the Grand
Renaissance Dam is the speed at which its reservoir would be filled.

Now over 60 per cent complete, the dam will produce 6,000 MW upon
completion.

It is centerpiece to Ethiopia’s ambitious power exporting plans and their
moves in the development of Free Trade Zone in the Countries they will export
power to.