Egypt agrees to internal consultation with Ethiopia over dam on Blue Nile

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Egypt has said that it would result to internal consultation with Ethiopia over its multi-billion dollar dam on the Blue Nile following a new proposal by Ethiopia for guidelines on the filling of the dam.

Egypt said on Wednesday August 4, 2020, that it would withdraw from the last round of tripartite negotiations including Ethiopia and Sudan over filling of the Ethiopia’s $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that has led to series of talks among the three countries.

Speaking about the new proposal, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister, tweeted on Tuesday disclosing government’s readiness to finalize filling agreement soon.

“Ethiopia would like to sign the first filling agreement at the soonest and also continue negotiation to finalize a comprehensive agreement in subsequent periods,” Seleshi said.

The new proposal by Ethiopia has however garnered responses from the two countries involved who have expressed their concerns over new issue that came with the proposal.

According to Egypt, the proposal excluded operating guidelines and there was not legal mechanism to settle dispute.

Similarly, Sudan Irrigation Ministry has expressed fear over the proposal which it says does not present much hope in the way negotiations are heading.

Speaking about the risks the dam could potentially pose to Sudan, the Sudanese irrigation ministry said, “We stress the seriousness of the risks that the dam represents for Sudan and its people, including environmental and social risks, and for the safety of millions of residents along the banks of the Blue Nile.

“It reinforces the need to reach a comprehensive agreement covering both filling and operation,”

Regarding the filling of the dam, Egypt and Sudan have expressed concerns peculiar to each of them.

Sudan is concerned with safety of its citizens who live along the Nile Blue, while Egypt is worried that the dam could lead to water shortage capable of putting its 100 million people who get 90% of their fresh water from the Blue Nile at risk.

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