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New Round of Talks on Nile Dam Starts in Cairo

New Round of Talks on Nile Dam Starts in Cairo

Monday, 2 December, 2019 - 15:00
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

The irrigation ministers of three key Nile basin countries have kicked off high-stakes negotiations in Cairo about Ethiopia´s soon-to-be-finished mega-dam project, which Egypt says threatens its water supply.

Joining the ministers Monday were American and World Bank officials.

It´s the second round of technical talks on the dam since a breakdown prompted Egypt to appeal for international mediation. The White House stepped in last month, hosting the foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, who agreed to move talks forward.

Sudan’s Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources revealed earlier that Minister Yasser Abbas would travel to Cairo on Saturday, heading the Sudanese delegation in the two-day meeting.

The talks are aimed at discussing the first filling of the dam and the start of its operation by Jan. 15.

The first was held in Addis Ababa mid-Nov. The third will take place in Khartoum in Dec. while the last is expected in Addis Ababa end of Dec. or the start of Jan.

Months of meetings have so far failed to yield consensus on the dam´s most contentious issues, including a timetable for filling the reservoir. Egypt fears Ethiopia´s $5 billion project, set to be Africa´s largest hydraulic dam, could reduce its share of the Nile, a lifeline for Egypt´s 100 million people.

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