The Egyptian government announced Tuesday that the latest round of contacts mediated by the African Union (AU) on the dam being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile River has ended again without progress, in the midst of a dispute that has caused tensions between Addis Ababa, Cairo and Khartoum.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that these consultations, held over the past three days in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the country that holds the AU presidency have ended without an agreement that would pave the way for a final pact on the project, Egyptian daily ‘Al Ahram‘ reported.
The trilateral talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan were scheduled for Sunday and Monday, although they were extended to Tuesday with the aim of trying to reach an agreement, something that was finally not achieved on this additional day.
In a final communiqué, the participants expressed their “deep gratitude” to the President of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, and to the Congolese people, as reported by the Congolese news portal Actualité.
Tshisekedi himself appealed during the talks for an agreement and stressed that the Nile “must be a source of life and shared prosperity in a win-win process in which the mutual and reciprocal interests of the states and peoples concerned are respected”.
The governments of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan reached a preliminary agreement in January 2020 on the main points of dispute over the construction of the dam and pledged to sign the final document by the end of February, although Addis Ababa walked out of the talks before signing the agreement, but only Cairo did.
The reason of Ethiopia’s walked out from the agreement is U.S. “characterization that the negotiation on the Guidelines and Rules on the First Filing and Annual Operation of the GERD (Guidelines and Rules) is completed.” And Ethiopia said the text of the draft agreement reportedly initialed by Egypt was “not the outcome of the negotiation”
Ethiopia, which is single-handedly financing the project and hopes to become the continent’s largest generator and exporter of electricity, rejects these accusations. Work is being carried out in the Benishangul-Gumaz region and, when completed, the dam will be the largest on the continent.