Sudan, Egypt criticize Ethiopia at start of new Nile dam

by Abdulmumeen S. Yitta
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At a new round of talks hosted by the African Union around Ethiopia’s filling of its Blue Nile dam, Egypt and Sudan have criticized Ethiopia for unilaterally filling the dam, which it says is to generate electricity for its people.

The criticism leveled on Monday July 27, 2020, at Ethiopia centers on fears by both Sudan and Egypt that filing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam could lead to water shortages in their own countries.

Of a greater concern to Egypt, the country gets about 90% of its fresh water from the Blue Nile on which its 100 million people depend.

Expressing concerns over the filling of the $4 billion hydroelectric dam, Egypt’s Irrigation Ministry said it cast a shadow on the meeting and raised many questions about the feasibility of the current course of negotiations and reaching a fair agreement.

Similarly, Sudan’s Irrigation Ministry criticized Ethiopia’s move saying it is “a harmful and disturbing precedent in the course of cooperation between the countries concerned,”

A series of negotiations over Ethiopia’s filling the dam have failed over the years as the countries could not reach an agreement to regulate the dam in a way that would not be detrimental to the countries concerned.

The dam is about 15km from border with Sudan on Blue Nile and provides bulks of water in the Nile after it meets with the White Nile in Sudan.

The ongoing talks among the three countries over the dam would center on other issues such as operation of the dam at a dry period when there would be reduced rainfall. Also to be considered in the talks is the legal domain of the agreement and mechanism as to whether it would be legal binding.

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