African Union announces failure of latest talks on Ethiopia's Nile Dam

African Union announces failure of latest talks on Ethiopia's Nile Dam

African Union announces failure of latest talks on Ethiopia's Nile Dam

However, the meeting was terminated due to the absence of Sudan, according to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

On Friday, representatives of Addis Ababa in the Ethiopian-Sudanese Joint Borders Committee accused the Sudanese army of "killing and displacing" Ethiopian farmers living along the border between the two countries, describing this as "unacceptable".

Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Sunday that the meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) failed to reach any conclusions due to disagreements over how to manage and resume negotiations.

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shouky and Minister of Irrigation and Water Sources Mohamed Abdel-Ati participated in the video conference talks.

However, Egypt and Ethopia, in separate statements, blamed Sudanese objections to the framework for the talks for the new impasse.

This new round of meetings comes under the presidency of South Africa, which now chairs the African Union, and aims to reach a binding agreement on the rules for filling and operating the Renaissance Dam.

She also added that she will present a report on this round of talks to South Africa's president in order to determine the next steps to be taken.

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In November, Sudan boycotted talks called by South African, the current chairman of the African Union, and argued that the negotiating approach to resolve the dispute proved unfruitful.

One day later, US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, and the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation, Yasser Abbas, stressed, Wednesday during their meeting in Khartoum the need to reach a fair legal agreement on the mobilization and operation of the GERD.

Egypt, which relies considerably on freshwater from the Nile, has voiced fears that the GERD would negatively impact the country's water supply, and has insisted that measures be put in place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the dam's filling process.

The African Union, which is supporting the talks, suggested the three nations "hold bilateral meetings" with AU experts, Ethiopia's foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The AU-mediated talks have been observed by representatives from the European Union, the USA, the AU, as well as legal and technical experts.

In mid-July 2020, Ethiopian authorities unilaterally carried out the first phase of the filling process with 4.9 billion cubic meters; and it is expected - as reported by the BBC- that the second phase of the filling would reach 13 billion cubic meters. The country relies nearly entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its people.

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