Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail to reach agreement on Nile dam

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Egyptian Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati (2nd R) participates with a delegation in the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations in Khartoum on October 4, 2019. (AFP)
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Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Seleshi Bekele (L) participates along with a delegation in a meeting with his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts (unseen) in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on October 4, 2019, as part of the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations. (AFP)
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Egyptian Water Resources Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati (2nd R) participates with a delegation in the "Renaissance Dam" trilateral negotiations with his Sudanese and Ethiopian counterparts (unseen) in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on October 4, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2019

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia fail to reach agreement on Nile dam

  • Sudan Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters in Khartoum that progress was made but differences on filling the giant reservoir and operating rules of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam remain unsettled
  • Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry, meanwhile, said that talks have stalemated

CAIRO: Irrigation ministers from three key Nile Basin countries wrapped up a two-day meeting Saturday in Sudan’s capital without resolving differences over Ethiopia’s soon-to-be-finished Blue Nile dam, with Egypt calling for international mediation to help reach a “fair and balanced” agreement.
Sudan Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas told reporters in Khartoum that progress was made but differences on filling the giant reservoir and operating rules of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam remain unsettled.
He said Ethiopia proposed a plan to fill the reservoir over four to seven years, without elaborating. He added that the three countries would continue consultations without giving a time frame.
Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry, meanwhile, said in a statement after the meeting that talks have stalemated, claiming Ethiopia rejected “all proposals that ... avoid causing substantial damage to Egypt.”
“Ethiopia ... offered a new proposal that contradicts previously agreed principles governing the filling and operating process,” said Muhammed el-Sebai, spokesman of the ministry.
He said Egypt has called for international mediation “to help reach a fair and balanced agreement that protect the three countries’ rights.”
Ethiopia did not immediately respond.
Egyptian presidency spokesman Bassam Radi said Egypt was looking forward to an “instrumental role” by the US in the talks. He said because there was no breakthrough in negotiations, there was a need for an “international instrumental role to overcome the current deadlock.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday the US supports Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan’s negotiations to reach a sustainable and mutually beneficial agreement.
“All Nile Valley countries have a right to economic development and prosperity,” Grisham said. “The administration calls on all sides to put forth good faith efforts to reach an agreement that preserves those rights, while simultaneously respecting each other’s Nile water equities.”
Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile River, which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. Ethiopia has roughly the same population and says the dam will help its economic development.


Sudan’s deposed Bashir questioned over 1989 coup: lawyer

Updated 51 min 9 sec ago

Sudan’s deposed Bashir questioned over 1989 coup: lawyer

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s former president Omar Al-Bashir appeared on Tuesday before a prosecutors’ committee over the 1989 coup that brought him to power, his lawyer said.
Bashir was “brought to be investigated in the case of the alleged 1989 coup,” said his lawyer, Mohamed Al-Hassan, who did not attend the hearing.
The lawyer also told reporters that in his view the hearing was “not a judicial matter, it’s a political matter.”
In 1989, Bashir, a brigadier at the time, seized power in an Islamist-backed coup that toppled the elected government of prime minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi.
The former president was himself ousted by the army in April of this year after months of nationwide protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.
On November 12, Sudanese authorities filed charges against Bashir and some of his aides for “plotting” the 1989 coup. The prosecution established a special committee for the case.
If found guilty, he could face the death penalty or life imprisonment under Sudanese law.
Sudan is now ruled by a joint civilian and military sovereign council, which is tasked with overseeing a transition to civilian rule as demanded by the protest movement.
Bashir is being held in Kober prison in a separate case, for which he has been on trial since August, on charges of illegally acquiring and using foreign funds.
A verdict is due in that case on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Bashir was taken from Kober prison to the prosecutor’s office in a convoy under strong armed protection.
After the hearing, which lasted about an hour, a crowd gathered in front of the prosecutor’s office, chanting “Kober prison — the best place for you!” and “you killed people!“
Wearing the traditional white Sudanese jalabiya and turban, Bashir raised his hands to the crowd, before he set off back toward Kober in the convoy.
The veteran leader is also wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity over his role in the war in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
To date, Sudanese transitional authorities do not want to extradite the former leader to The Hague.