June 20, 2020 / 2:55 AM / 15 days ago

Egypt calls for U.N. intervention in talks on Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam

Water flows through Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/Files

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt on Friday called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to restart talks on the $4 billion hydroelectric dam being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan.

Talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam were halted once again this week, this time only about a fortnight before its expected start-up.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt took this decision in light of the stalled negotiations that took place recently on the Renaissance Dam as a result of Ethiopian stances that are not positive,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The latest round of talks, which had started on June 9 over video conference, followed a previous round of negotiations in Washington, which ended without agreement in February.

Egypt, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its fresh water supplies, sees it as a potentially existential threat. It is anxious to secure a legally binding deal that would guarantee minimum flows and a mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.

The dam is the centrepiece in Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool

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