Sudan wants Nile dam talks to involve Prime Ministers



FILE PHOTO: Building site machines stand on the construction site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Guba in the North West of Ethiopia, 24 November 2017. /Getty Images.

Sudan wants negotiations with Ethiopia and Egypt to be escalated to a Prime Ministerial level after the latest round of talks hit a snag.

The three countries have been embroiled in a months-long dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which Addis Ababa has been building on the Blue Nile.

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 outstanding issues “are of a legal nature especially in terms of a… mechanism for water sharing,” AFP quotes Sudanese Water Resources Minister Yasser Abbas after the latest round of virtual talks.

“Sudan has proposed to refer these issues to the prime ministers of the three countries,” Abbas added.

The United States has stressed the importance of the Nile to the people of East Africa, and has called upon the concerned parties to craft a “fair deal.”

Other parties that are observing the talks include South Africa and the European Union.

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