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Egypt, Sudan Spar With Ethiopia Over Contentious Nile Dam

Representatives from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on Monday were slated to hold negotiations over a controversial Nile dam, amid allegations by Cairo that Addis Ababa was seeking to scrap “all [previous] agreements and deals” related to the project. The three main Nile Basin countries have for years been at odds over the construction of the $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is about 70% complete and is meant to generate electricity for Ethiopia. The African nation intends to begin filling the dam’s reservoir in the coming weeks, even as Egypt has raised concerns that the move could significantly reduce the amount of water available to its citizens. During the rainy season, about 80% of the Nile River’s waters originate from a tributary located in Ethiopia known as the Blue Nile. In February, Addis Ababa rejected a US-mediated deal after accusing the Trump Administration of siding with Cairo. The negotiations were thereafter suspended until last week, following which Ethiopia released a statement expressing a “total” rejection of Egypt’s efforts to address “mitigation measures for droughts” and a demand that any agreement include “a legally binding dispute resolution mechanism.” In turn, Cairo stressed that these were “existential matter[s] that affect the lives of over 150 million citizens of Egypt and Sudan.” Tensions between the nations have increased over the past few months, with Egypt recently warning that it would use “all available means” to protect its interests.