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Talks on Ethiopian Nile Dam Inconclusive

Talks held this week between representatives from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to yield an agreement over a controversial dam under construction on one of the Nile River’s main tributaries. The $4.6 billion Grand Renaissance Dam, being built by Ethiopia for electrical generation and flood control, could affect the flow of water downriver, where both Sudan and Egypt rely on the Nile for drinking water and irrigation. Work is slated to begin soon on diverting the Blue Nile’s waters to fill the reservoir used for power generation. Yasser Abbas, Sudan’s irrigation minister, told reporters late Wednesday in Khartoum that there had been agreement on almost all technical issues, although disputes remained over legal matters, which would be up to the countries’ political leaders to settle. “A deal should be signed before the start of the filling [of the reservoir],” he stated. Ethiopia is eager to begin the dam’s operation, as it will have the capability to generate enough electricity for export, bringing in much needed foreign currency.