Ethiopia, Egypt Exchange Accusations on Deadlocked Renaissance Dam Talks

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Nile. Reuters file photo
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Nile. Reuters file photo
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Ethiopia, Egypt Exchange Accusations on Deadlocked Renaissance Dam Talks

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Nile. Reuters file photo
Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen as it undergoes construction work on the Nile. Reuters file photo

Negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) continued for the seventh day between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan in hopes for reaching a solution to the legal points on water sharing.

Cairo and Addis Ababa exchanged verbal accusations, with Egypt threatening to resort to the UN Security Council, and Ethiopia saying that Cairo’s position has become an obstacle in the ongoing talks.

The negotiations were held via video conferencing with the participation of observers from the United States, the European Union, and South Africa, which is the current chair of the African Union.

Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas announced that the three countries agreed on the majority of the technical issues. However, Egypt wants to sign a comprehensive agreement to fill and operate the dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, before beginning to fill the reservoir as scheduled in July.

The Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Gedu Andargachew, accused Egypt of obstructing the negotiations, stressing that Cairo is only looking for its own interest.

"Egypt came to the latest negotiation with one leg on the talks and another aimed at lodging a complaint to the UN Security Council," Andargachew said, according to state-owned Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).

"Egypt wants to take everything for itself with no willingness to give," he was quoted as saying.

On Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned that Cairo may resort to the Security Council to prevent Ethiopia from taking any “unilateral” action on the hydropower project if Addis Ababa remains "intransigent."

He pointed out that the recent tripartite talks did not yield positive results due to the Ethiopian obstinacy.

Meanwhile, informed sources said the countries agree on the technical issues relating to the safety of the dam, filling it during the upcoming Ethiopian rain season and in regular seasons, and drought management rules.

However, differences remain on a number of legal matters such as mandatory clauses that ensure compliance and mechanisms to resolve disputes.

Sudan suggested holding negotiations at the level of prime ministers if no agreement was reached, but Ethiopia and Egypt preferred to continue talks among water resources ministers and legal experts.

In 2015, the leaders of the three countries signed an initial agreement on the Renaissance Dam to guarantee Egypt’s share of 55 billion cubic meters of the Nile water.

Egyptian water expert Mohamed Nasreddine Allam said that the negotiations could end with one of three possible scenarios. He believes Ethiopia could hold onto its position, after which Egypt will announce the failure of the talks and warn Addis Ababa against filling the dam, further escalating the situation.

Allam indicated that the second possible outcome could be that Ethiopia responds to the demands of Sudan and Egypt, and agrees to an initial agreement, or the final scenario, where Addis Ababa agrees to some of the demands and continues negotiating on other controversial issues which require additional time.



Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
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Israel Strikes Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon Foes after Attacks

Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)
Smoke rises from a building hit by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on July 20, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Eyad BABA / AFP)

The Middle East was reeling Sunday from deadly violence with Israel bombing Gaza, Lebanon and Yemen in quick succession in response to attacks from Iran-backed militant groups.
Despite Washington's top diplomat asserting a deal is near the "goal line" to end more than nine months of devastating war between Israel and Gaza rulers Hamas, the Israeli military said it intercepted a missile fired from Yemen, as it pressed on with its offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory, Agence France Presse reported.
Dozens have been killed since Saturday across the Gaza Strip, the civil defense agency said, including in strikes on homes in the central Nuseirat and Bureij areas and displaced people near southern Khan Yunis.
Residents said a major operation was underway in the district of Rafah in the south, reporting heavy artillery and clashes.
The deadly strikes in Gaza came hours after Hezbollah and its ally Hamas said they fired at Israeli positions from south Lebanon, while Yemen's Houthi group vowed to respond to Israeli warplanes hitting a key port.
The fire left raging by the strikes on Hodeida port "is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
Detailing the first strikes claimed by Israel in Yemen, Gallant warned of further operations if the Houthis "dare to attack us" after a Houthi drone strike killed one in Tel Aviv on Friday.
In Hodeida three people were killed and 87 wounded, health officials said in a statement carried by Houthi media.
Netanyahu travels to Washington
The trio of militant groups has vowed to keep up attacks on Israel until a truce ends the violence in Gaza, which lies in ruins, with most residents forced to flee their homes.
The Gaza war was triggered by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza, including 42 the Israeli military says are dead.
Israel's military retaliation to wipe out Hamas has killed at least 38,919 people, also mostly civilians, according to data from the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
The war has also unleashed hunger and health crises in Gaza, with Israel and the United Nations trading blame for vital aid supplies failing to reach those in need.
After the detection of poliovirus in Gaza sewage, though no individual cases, the World Health Organization said there were "monumental" constraints to mounting a timely response.
WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said Friday the agency believes many more diseases are "spreading out of control" inside Gaza.
The premier is due to address US lawmakers Wednesday in Washington, where he will be under pressure to reach a ceasefire with Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday a truce was within reach.
"I believe we're... driving toward the goal line in getting an agreement that would produce a ceasefire, get the hostages home, and put us on a better track to trying to build lasting peace and stability," he said.