KHARTOUM, 11 Jnauary 2021 – The African Union-facilitated talks between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on their years-long dispute over the Mega Dam on the Blue Nile have failed, again.
The focus of the negotiations is threefold.
First, agree how much water Ethiopia will release downstream, if a multi-year drought occurs.
Second, agree how the release of water from the dam will be manage to limit flooding downsteam in caae of excessive downpours.
And, third, the three countries will resolve unforeseen future disputes in operating waters of the Blue Nile flowing into or out of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.
After a week of virtual meetings, the foreign ministers and ministers of water and irrigation of the three countries rose without finding common ground on a way forward.
The differences were “over how to resume the talks and procedural aspects related to the negotiating process,” media reports cited the Egytian foreign minister as explaining.
Egypt and Ethiopia rejected Sudan’s proposal.
Egypt and Sudan would like the talks to end with the putting in place of a binding agreement on how the Mega Dam is filled and operated, while Ethiopia wants the three countries to be satisfied with outlining guidelines.
Sudan also rejected a proposal by South Africa fot the delegations to meet separately with African Union experts.
The Blue Nile on which Ethiopia is building the Mega Dam meets up with the White Nile in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
The Sudanese government is worried that the construction of the dam could negatively impact their own dams on the river, 85 percent of whose waters originate from Ethiopia.
Egypt, whose water supply and agriculture depend almost entirely on the Nile, has called the dam an existential threat.
Construction of the $5 billion Mega Dam will allow Ethiopia to generate 6,450 megawatts of electricity by 2023.
Addis Ababa expects to earn billions of dollars a year in revenue from neighbors through the sale of electricity.
Egypt is also worried that the filling and operation of the Ethiopian dam could negatively impact the Aswan High Dam which Cairo is also building on the river.