Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan commit to resolving Nile dam dispute

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Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan made a commitment to resolving a dispute over a large Ethiopian-led dam project after talks on Wednesday.

The 3 nations issued a statement saying they would continue negotiations in talks to be held on December 9 and January 13 with the aim of finding a resolution by January 15 of next year.

“The ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to reach a comprehensive, cooperative, adaptive, sustainable, and mutually beneficial agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and to establish a clear process for fulfilling that commitment in accordance with the 2015 Declaration of Principles,” the statement read.

Big gains, big losses

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, in the works since 2011, is a massive Ethiopian hydroelectric dam project along the Nile river. Ethiopia plans to start filling and operating the reservoir in 2020, with the aim of eventually completing one of the world’s biggest dams and becoming Africa’s biggest power exporter. Once complete, the dam will generate about 6,450 megawatts of electricity, double Ethiopia’s current output.

The Nile provides both water and electricity to the 10 countries it passes through. Sudan and Egypt fear that the project could threaten their water supply. Egypt, which has suffered from a water crisis in recent years, relies on the river for 90 percent of its drinking water.

After talks between the countries broke down earlier this year, Egypt sought a neutral country to step in as a mediator.

Peer mediation

Water ministers from all 3 countries will attend the upcoming talks.

In the event a resolution is not reached by the January 15 deadline, the ministers agreed to then involve an international mediator.

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