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Tensions Mount in North Africa After Dam Talks End in Failure
A view of the Blue Nile River as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam near Guba in Ethiopia, on Dec. 26, 2019. (Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images)

Tensions Mount in North Africa After Dam Talks End in Failure

Northeast Africa is edging toward a dangerous new reality, after the past week’s talks in Kinshasa between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, which the sides called the last chance to resolve their Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute, petered out with no agreed-upon settlement. Khartoum and Cairo, who fear mass droughts, floods and famine once upstream Ethiopia begins filling its massive Blue Nile reservoir, both accused Addis Ababa of negotiating in bad faith and sabotaging the meetings. Sudan on Tuesday warned it would now “consider all possible options to protect its citizens,” while last week Egyptian President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi threatened that Ethiopia’s conduct would lead to “regional instability.” The mammoth construction, already finished and operational, has been the center of controversy for nearly a decade, as Ethiopia’s neighbors have demanded a contract brokered by the US, UN and EU that would regulate and oversee the dam’s activity. Ethiopia has explained that the GERD will finally provide electricity to its still mostly off-the-grid population.

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