April 6, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 20 days ago

Three-nation talks on Ethiopia dam fail to reach agreement

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Talks in Khartoum between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to resolve differences over a dam Ethiopia is building ended early on Friday without agreement, the Sudanese foreign minister said.

Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, a $4 billion-hydroelectric project that Cairo fears will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands and via Sudan.

Addis Ababa denies the dam will undermine Egypt’s access to water. Ties between Egypt and Sudan were strained when Khartoum backed the dam because of its need for electricity.

The issue is being closely followed in Nile capitals that are dependent on the river for irrigation and drinking water.

“We were not able to reach an agreement on a joint decision, and it’s a technical issue that we cannot discuss,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters after the talks that began on Thursday morning and lasted about 16 hours.

Ghandour said the talks on the dam on the Blue Nile were constructive and important, but more time was needed, Khartoum’s state news agency SUNA said.

The talks were attended by the foreign ministers, irrigation ministers and intelligence chiefs of the three countries.

No date has been set for further discussions, but irrigation ministers are planning to meet at some point for more talks on the matter, the minister said.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Writing by Arwa Gaballa, Editing by William Maclean

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