Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia return to talks over disputed dam

Three key Nile basin countries will continue on Saturday their latest round of talks to resolve a years-long dispute over the operation and filling of Ethiopia’s giant hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. (File/AFP)
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Updated 04 July 2020

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia return to talks over disputed dam

  • The Egyptian irrigation ministry said “fundamental technical and legal differences” remained unsolved
  • Sticking points in the talks include how much water Ethiopia will release downstream from the dam if a multiyear drought occurs

CAIRO: Three key Nile basin countries will continue on Saturday their latest round of talks to resolve a years-long dispute over the operation and filling of Ethiopia’s giant hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile, Egypt’s irrigation ministry said.
Officials from Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia resumed their negotiations through video conference Friday, aiming to bridge the gaps and finalize a deal on the contentious mega-project within two to three weeks, Sudan’s irrigation ministry said.
The current round of talks came after negotiations last month failed to produce a deal, prompting Egypt and Sudan to appeal to the United Nations Security Council to intervene in the dispute.
The Egyptian irrigation ministry said “fundamental technical and legal differences” remained unsolved, and that they would resume their meetings Saturday.
Sticking points in the talks have been how much water Ethiopia will release downstream from the dam if a multiyear drought occurs and how Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan will resolve any future disagreements.
Egypt and Sudan agreed late in June to return to the talks after they said Ethiopia would refrain from filling the dam until the three countries reached a deal.
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office said the filling has been scheduled to begin within the next two weeks, and during that period, the three countries would work to reach an agreement “on a few pending issues.”
The talks are backed by the African Union. The 15-member Security Council expressed support for the AU action in reviving talks.
Egypt, which relies on the Nile for more than 90% of its water supplies and already faces high water stress, fears a devastating impact on its booming population of 100 million.
Ethiopia has hinged its development ambitions on the colossal dam, describing it as a crucial lifeline to bring millions out of poverty.
Sudan meanwhile stands to benefit from Ethiopia’s dam, including having access to cheap electricity and reduced flooding, but it has raised fears over the operation and safety of the Ethiopian project and says it could endanger its own dams.


UAE, Israel discuss energy, infrastructure cooperation

Updated 24 September 2020

UAE, Israel discuss energy, infrastructure cooperation

  • They discussed possible investment opportunities in renewable energies

DUBAI/JERUSALEM: The energy ministers of the UAE and Israel discussed possible cooperation and investment opportunities, including natural gas exports to Europe, in a video call on Wednesday, Emirates state news agency WAM reported.
A statement said the two minster discussed possible investment opportunities in energy, infrastructure, oil, gas and renewable energy, as the UAE plans to the shift toward green energies.
During the call, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al-Mazroui “reviewed the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which is the first unified energy plan in the country that balances production and consumption aspects and global environmental obligations and ensures a comfortable economic environment for growth in all sectors.”
The two sides also focused on advanced technology companies in the field of energy and cybersecurity.
Israel and the UAE signed an agreement on Sept. 15 to establish diplomatic relations, an accord that Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in the statement presented a “historic opportunity” for energy development in the region.
“I spoke (with the UAE energy minister) on cooperating in linking power grids and developing the natural gas market for exports via pipeline to Europe ... as well as other projects,” an Israeli statement quoted Steinitz as saying.
The statement, released by Steinitz’s office, said he proposed the UAE join an Egypt-based energy forum that seeks to promote natural gas exports from the east Mediterranean.
“They (the UAE) said they would examine the issue,” the Israeli statement said.
Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan signed a charter on Tuesday establishing the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF).
The group unites regional rivals of Turkey, which has been locked in a bitter dispute with European Union members Greece and Cyprus over gas drilling rights in the region.
(With Reuters)