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3-party meeting fails over Ethiopian dam on Nile

China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-07 07:23

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia Sept 26, 2019. Picture taken on Sept 26, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

KINSHASA-Egypt and Sudan said on Tuesday the latest round of talks with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have ended with no progress.

Delegations from the three nations met in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in a bid to break a deadlock in talks over a project Ethiopia says is key to its economic development and power generation.

Ethiopia, an upstream Nile basin country, started building the dam in 2011. Egypt fears the dam will imperil its supplies of Nile water, while Sudan is concerned about the dam's safety and water flows through its own dams and water stations.

Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the dam with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic meters have been fruitless, including early ones hosted by Washington and more recent ones by the African Union.

The United Nations on Tuesday called for compromise and cooperation in order to reach an agreement over the dam on the Nile.

"I think we can't underscore enough the importance of compromise and cooperation," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, when asked about the failed talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan under the auspices of the AU.

Before the meetings began, Egypt had said they represented the last chance to restart negotiations before Ethiopia begins to fill the dam for the second year in a row after seasonal rains begin this summer.

After the Kinshasa meeting, Ethiopia emphasized the second-year filling of the dam reservoir would be carried out as scheduled and expressed its readiness to facilitate data and information exchange on the filling, the foreign ministry said in a statement. "Ethiopia cannot enter into an agreement that would foreclose its current and future legitimate rights over the utilization of the Nile," it added.

Sudan and Egypt were aligned on a proposal to include the UN, the European Union and the United States as mediators, as an addition to current AU facilitation of talks.

Agencies - Xinhua

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