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Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resume talks on Nile River dam, but obstacles remain

The current talks follow the outbreak of violence in Sudan as well as mediation efforts by the UAE.
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during the first power generation ceremony at the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have resumed talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, though a final agreement on the Nile River mega-dam remains elusive and faces several challenges.

The latest round of talks began on Sunday in Cairo between the three countries. Egypt is seeking a legally binding agreement in the talks on how the dam is operated and filled, according to a statement from Egypt’s State Information Service.

Ethiopia began filling the dam in the summer of 2020. The mega-dam is located on the Blue Nile river — a tributary of the Nile — close to the border with Sudan. Ethiopia says the hydroelectric dam will provide electricity to its citizens as well as help with development and the alleviation of poverty. Only 44% of Ethiopians had access to electricity in 2022, according to a profile on Ethiopia from the US International Trade Administration.

The downstream states of Egypt and Sudan, however, believe Ethiopia's unilaterally filling the dam will dangerously lower the levels of the Nile River and its tributaries in their territories, especially in the event of a drought. The Nile is tremendously important to countries in the region, and Egypt gets more than 90% of its water from the river.

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