Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia talks over Nile dam fail

The latest round of talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended with no progress made.

Delegations from the three countries met in an attempt to break a deadlock in negotiations over Ethiopia’s massive dam on the Nile river, a project Addis Ababa says is key to its economic development and power generation.

Sudan’s foreign minister said 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.

Ethiopian officials made no immediate comment.

The GERD, whose planned capacity of 6,500 megawatts will make it the biggest dam in Africa, has been a source of tension since its first stone was laid in April 2011.

Ethiopia says the dam project is key to its economic development and power generation for its population of 110 million people.

But 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.

Last week, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said there would be “inconceivable instability in the region” if Egypt’s water supplies were affected by the dam.Ethiopia announced the second filling will take place in July and is set to store 13.5 billion cubic metres of water.

“That’s three times more than the amount of water that was stored in the GERD in the first filling last year, which had impacted water stations and some farms along the Nile and affected the water supplies of five million people in the country,” Morgan said.

Allam Ahmed, founding president of the World Association of Sustainable Development, told Al Jazeera that a country or bloc that has not been involved in past negotiations and is seen as independent – such as possibly the US, Canada, or China – will likely have to play a mediating role to move the talks forward.

“The conflict will continue to escalate and I think there will have to be an intervention at a higher level,” he said.

He said that none of the parties is seriously considering destroying the dam, but that independent technical experts need to scrutinise the data on the dam held by Ethiopia in order to address the concerns.

“The outstanding issues could be resolved quickly if we can have a transparent technical evaluation of the dam – that is the key point.”

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