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S. Africa urges parties in Nile dam talks to continue discussions

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-07 10:14

A handout satellite image shows a closeup view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia June 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa on Thursday appealed to Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to continue discussions aimed at resolving the ongoing disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile River.

"As the parties engage in this critical phase of the negotiations, we would like to urge them to continue to be guided by the spirit of pan-African solidarity and fraternity, which has characterised the Africa Union-led negotiations process on the GERD," said International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, who was speaking on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"It is important that the parties should display magnanimity and understanding of each other's interests so as to move the process forward," she added.

Ethiopia, which started building the 4-billion-U.S. dollar GERD in 2011, is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity to push the country's development.

Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of water resources.

On Monday, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia resumed a new round of talks on the filling and operation of the GERD, but Sudan rejected the Ethiopian proposal on Tuesday.

Pandor said that President Ramaphosa would be presented with a report about the discussions which would look at "outstanding technical and legal issues" in the coming weeks.

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