Egyptian FM travels to U.S. for final round of talks on Nile dam dispute

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FILE: Egyptian Minister for foreign affairs Sameh Shoukry arrives for an EU Egypt Association council on December 20, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry has traveled to Washington to participate in the scheduled final round of talks to resolve a dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on River Nile.

The talks slated for January 28-29 will come a week after another U.S.-facilitated round of talks held in Khartoum which was attended by officials from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The talks will be held in the presence of U.S. officials and World Bank representatives.

Egypt has long expressed fears that building the $5 billion dam will threaten water supplies that have fed Egypt’s agriculture and economy for thousands of years.

Ethiopia on the other hand hopes the dam will help make it Africa’s biggest power exporter, and has allayed fears that the dam will threaten Egypt’s water supply.

Once completed, the Grand Renaissance Dam will be the biggest in Africa.

Ethiopia PM Abiy and President el-Sisi have met on many occasions previously, but a deal remains elusive. Both have however expressed confidence that the dispute will be resolved amicably.

The dispute now remains on the time-frame for the filling up of the dam’s reservoir. Egypt wants a longer duration which it says will minimize water shortages.

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