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Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt talks on Nile dam break down

Christian Fernsby |
A new round of negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt aimed at resolving a long-running dispute about The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile has broken down once again.

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The latest virtual meetings between foreign and water ministers “failed to reach an acceptable agreement to resume negotiations”, Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency said on Sunday.

Khartoum objected to what it said was a January 8 letter from Ethiopia to the African Union stating that Ethiopia was determined to fill the reservoir for the second year in July with 13.5 million cubic metres of water, whether an agreement is reached or not.

“We cannot continue this vicious cycle of circular talks indefinitely,” Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasir Abbas said in a statement.

However, Egypt and Ethiopia, in separate statements, blamed Sudanese objections to the framework for the talks for the new impasse.

The Ethiopian foreign ministry said in a statement that despite previously insisting on meetings with the African Union experts, Sudan objected to their terms of reference and refused to include the experts in the meeting, effectively halting the talks.

“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.

Naledi Pandor, the foreign minister of South Africa – which chairs the African Union, voiced her “regret that the talks reached a dead end”, according to the Sudan News Agency.

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