|Egypt accepts proposal to renegotiate on Nile dam dispute
Egypt and Sudan fear Ethiopia’s dam project will trap essential water supplies
May 22, 2020
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Egypt on Thursday said it was willing to resume negotiations with Sudan and Ethiopia over filling a controversial mega-dam that
has been a source of tension between the Nile Basin countries.
"Egypt is always ready to enter into negotiations and participate in upcoming meetings to reach a fair, balanced and
comprehensive agreement," the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry said the agreement would have to take into account "Egypt's water interests, as well as those of Ethiopia and
Cairo's thawing stance comes after Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok held an online meeting with Ethiopian leader Abiy
Ahmed earlier on Thursday to hammer out a deal.
Addis Ababa has said it will not delay filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which it began building in 2011.
In April, Mr Ahmed proposed proceeding with the
"first stage filling", which would collect 18.4 billion
cubic metres of water in the dam's reservoir over
But Egypt and Sudan fear the reservoir, which
has a capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, will trap
their essential water supplies.
The talks between Mr Hamdok and Mr Abiy were
the first since a diplomatic dispute between
Egypt and Ethiopia reached the UN Security
Filling and operating the dam "would jeopardise the water security, food security, and the very existence of over 100 million
Egyptians, who are entirely dependent on the Nile River for their livelihood", Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry wrote to
the council on May 1.
In a response dated May 14, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew accused Egypt of being obstructionist.
"Ethiopia does not have a legal obligation to seek the approval of Egypt to fill the dam," Mr Andargachew said.
Egypt wants Ethiopia to endorse a draft agreement emerging from talks this year organised by the US Treasury Department.
Washington stepped in after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi put in a request to his ally, US President Donald Trump.
But Ethiopia skipped the most recent round of those talks and denies any deal was agreed on.
Cairo's strongly worded letter to the UN Security Council raised the spectre of renewed conflict from the dam issue.