Egypt pulls out of talks on Nile dam

The talks are trying to resolve a years-long dispute over Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 August 2020

Egypt pulls out of talks on Nile dam

  • Sudan and Egypt object to Ethiopia’s filling of the reservoir on the dam without a deal among the three nations
  • The issue of Ethiopia’s dam also threatens to escalate into a full-blown regional conflict as years of talks with a variety of mediators have failed

CAIRO: Egypt has pulled out of talks on the controversial $4 billion dam on the Blue Nile amid a growing dispute with Ethiopia over access to water.
Both Egypt and Sudan fear the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is being built about 15 km from the Ethiopian border with Sudan, could cause water shortages upstream. Sudan is also concerned about the structure’s safety.
The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile River, from which Egypt’s 100 million people obtain 90 percent of their freshwater.
Discussions among the three countries have made little progress. The Water Ministry in Cairo said on Wednesday that Ethiopia had put forward a draft proposal that lacked regulations on the operation of the dam, or any legal obligations. The draft also lacked a legal mechanism for settling disputes, the Egyptian ministry said.
“Egypt and Sudan demanded meetings be suspended for internal consultations on the Ethiopian proposal, which contravenes what was agreed upon during the African Union summit,” it said.
Sudan’s Irrigation Ministry said the latest Ethiopian position raised new fears over the track the negotiations had been on.
“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,” the ministry said.
“This reinforces the need to reach a comprehensive agreement covering both filling and operation.”

 


Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises above 25,000

Updated 24 September 2020

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises above 25,000

  • 3,521 new cases were identified in the last 24 hours in Iran

DUBAI: Iran’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 175 to 25,015 on Thursday, the highest in the Middle East, with the total number of identified cases spiking to 436,319 in the country, according to health ministry. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 3,521 new cases were identified in the last 24 hours in Iran.