Five Steps Back for Talks on Grand Ethiopian Dam

Negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, in a long-running dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, have reached a new impasse. “We cannot continue this vicious cycle of circular talks indefinitely,” Sudanese irrigation minister Yasir Abbas said in a statement. However, Egypt and Ethiopia, in separate statements, blamed Sudanese objections to the framework for the talks for the new impasse. Sudan said on Sunday it was concerned the dam could overwhelm its nearby Roseires dam if an agreement is not reached that would allow the countries to share data. Ethiopia said in a foreign ministry statement that despite previously insisting on meetings with the African Union experts, Sudan objected to their terms of reference and refused to include the experts in the meeting, effectively halting the talks. The prolonged dispute between the three countries has continued even after the reservoir behind the $4 billion dam began filling in July.

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